What Puts You at Risk for Colon Cancer?

Colon or colorectal cancer appears in the rectum or colon. This disease can be treated, regardless if it has already reached adjacent lymph nodes, if detected early. This is why it is important that you know what puts you at risk for colon cancer. Here are some risk factors to ponder:

Personal History

If you had colon cancer before, you can have this disease the second time. This is despite the fact that it has been removed totally. New cancers may occur in different areas of the rectum and colon. Women have increased risk of colorectal cancer if they have had cancer of the breast, ovary and uterus.

Age

The older you become, the more you are at risk of colon cancer. Over 90 percent of people who suffer from this illness were detected after the age of 50. Seventy-two is the typical age at diagnosis, however.

Family History

Most individuals with colon cancer have no family history of this disease. However, statistics had it that 1 in 5 individuals affected with colon cancer have members of the family who had this illness. The risk gets higher, however, for people whose first-degree relatives are afflicted with colon cancer.

Type 2 Diabetes

What puts you at risk for colon cancer? If you have type 2 diabetes, you are vulnerable. Persons who suffer from this chronic disease are at risk of colorectal cancer.

Smoking and Alcohol

People who smoke cigarettes are susceptible to so many illnesses and these include colon cancer. The same happens to individuals who drink alcohol heavily.

Race and Ethnic Relations

Of all races in the U.S., African Americans have the highest incidence and mortality rates for colon cancer. For any ethnic group in the whole world, the Jews of Eastern Europe descent are among those who have highest threat of this disease. This is due to many gene mutations.

Inactive Lifestyle

People who spend most of their time doing nothing that will make them sweat, energized and healthy are more prone to developing colorectal cancer.

With these risks, you should be able to recognize signs and symptoms of colon cancer so you can submit yourself to one or more screening tests (like fecal occult blood test and colonoscopy) to detect colorectal cancer early. These include:

  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of weight
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Red or dark blood in stool
  • Narrow stools
  • Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Spasms

In some cases, however, colon cancer is already in existence before symptoms occur. This is because warning signs depend on the location of the tumor in the large intestine. The right colon is large enough; hence, it enables cancers to develop in bigger sizes before a person may feel something inside the stomach. The left colon, on the other hand, is narrower that there’s already partial or full bowel obstruction happening.

Remember to educate yourself on what puts you at risk for colon cancer to keep you on your toes. More important, this will pave the way for early detection. You may consult with health care professionals or go to treatment centers for more information.

Sources:
http://www.cancer.org/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/
http://www.medicinenet.com/

 

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