Did you know that colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women? Did you know it doesn’t have to be? Take time this month during Colon Cancer Awareness Month to learn about the risk factors for this very preventable and treatable form of cancer.
Contrary to popular belief, colon cancer is not a disease of the elderly. While the majority of cases occur in those ages 65 and older, 10% of new colon cancer patients are under age 50.
What is colon cancer?
Abnormal growths called polyps can form in the colon or rectum and over time may turn into cancer. Screening is so important because colon cancer doesn’t always exhibit symptoms. Tests can help find polyps that should be removed before becoming cancerous. Screening can also help diagnose colon cancer at an earlier stage, allowing for a greater response to treatment.
Are you at risk?
The following are considered risk factors for colon cancer:
- Family history of colon cancer or colorectal polyps
- Diagnosed inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Certain genetic conditions including familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Lynch Syndrome
Lifestyle factors can also contribute to an increased risk of colon cancer, including:
- Overweight and obesity
- Alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
- Lack of physical activity
- High fat diet
- Low fruit and vegetable and low fiber diet
What are the symptoms?
You may have cancerous polyps and not know it. If you experience a change in bowel movements or bloody stool, chronic stomach pains, nausea or unexplained weight loss, see your doctor.
Lake Norman Oncology provides patients with the highest quality care during and after their cancer treatment. Please schedule an appointment with one of our physician to discuss your treatment and recovery options.