Although there have been many breakthroughs in cancer prevention and treatment, it is still the second leading cause of death in the United States and colon cancer is the fourth most common type in both men and women. , according to Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention. While a small percentage of cases are due to non-modifiable factors such as family history, the majority are believed to stem from lifestyle choices such as smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet, UTSouthwestern Medical Center said. “Colon cancer diagnoses (about 70%) are considered random or sporadic and non-hereditary, with no known etiology.
Risk factors for sporadic colon cancer include:
–Inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease
–Diets high in fat and/or low in fiber
– Smoking/tobacco use
–Physical inactivity and/or obesity
-Type 2 diabetes”
It is not uncommon to have colon cancer and not realize it, as the signs often only appear at a later stage. And with colon cancer on the rise in people under 50, colon cancer is an even more serious health problem. However, there is good news. “About 90% of colorectal cancers and deaths are thought to be preventable. In addition to regular colorectal cancer screenings, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer,” University of California San Francisco States.
Misagh KarimiMD, a medical oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal cancers at City of Hope Orange County Lennar Foundation Cancer Center in Irvine, Calif., and director of clinical operations at City of Hope Newport Beach Fashion Island tells us, “Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States Most colorectal cancers begin as growths called polyps in the smooth inner lining of the colon or rectum. More than most other cancers, colon cancer is affected by factors that you can control, like what you eat and how much you exercise. a diet that includes lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains – and is low in animal fat – has been linked to a lower risk of colon cancer Other lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, drinking less and exercising regularly can also help reduce your risk.
Additionally, the majority of people with colorectal cancer, about 70%, do not have inherited conditions that signal a higher risk. This means that, for most people, making healthy lifestyle choices and getting screened as recommended by their doctor are the most important things they can do to reduce their risk of colorectal cancer. It is very important to undergo the recommended screenings and it is not too early to think about it if you are in your forties. The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk for colorectal cancer begin regular screening at age 45. Follow-up colonoscopies should be done every 1 to 3 years, depending on the individual’s risk and the results of the first test. Simply put, risk reduction and early detection are the keys to better outcomes.”
Dr. Karimi says: “In recent years, we are seeing a significant change in colon cancer trends. While cases are decreasing among people 65 and older, they are increasing among the younger population in adults 50 and younger. In fact, one in five colorectal cancer diagnoses is in people between the ages of 20 and 54. is probably due to diet and lack of exercise.
We know that exercise is an important part of an individual’s overall health, and we find that more time spent exercising and less time sitting impacts colorectal cancer risk. Half of the youngest patients diagnosed are overweight. As a medical oncologist who sees patients every day, I advise my patients to eat nutritious foods and exercise daily, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day. Small changes make a big difference. The best way to stop cancer is to prevent it in the first place, and the sooner you make healthy choices, the greater the potential benefits.”
According to Dr. Karimi, “Many people think of it as a disease that afflicts older men. However, colorectal cancer not only affects young people, but it is also only slightly more common in men than in women. Another misconception I hear is that people don’t I don’t think need to be screened because they don’t have symptoms, but the signs of colorectal cancer tend to show up when the cancer is at an advanced stage.
Colon cancer patients may have no symptoms, or their symptoms may be the same as other gastrointestinal problems. Without symptoms, polyps containing cancerous cells can remain in the colon wall not just for months, but for years. Once severe symptoms appear, the cancer has usually progressed to a more advanced stage. This is one of the many reasons people should know their family medical history and let their doctor know if something is wrong. If the symptoms could be caused by colon cancer, there is screening tests that can be done to find the cause.”
Dr. Karimi points out, “Warning signs of colon cancer that people should never ignore and report to their doctor include:
–A change in bowel habits that lasts a long time (more than a few days),
– Bleeding from the rectum
– Blood in the stool
–Weakness or fatigue
– Unintentional weight loss
-Nausea and vomiting
If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer, consult a doctor who specializes in this disease before starting treatment. A colorectal cancer specialist familiar with the latest advances in research and treatment can help you fully understand your options so you can make the best decisions possible.”
Dr. Karimi explains: “We know that polyps containing cancerous cells can remain lodged in the wall of the colon for months or even years without causing bleeding, pain or other symptoms. Screening increases the chances of getting colon cancer at an early stage, before it has spread and when it is most likely to be cured. At City of Hope Orange County, we are committed to increasing the number of life-saving colon cancer screenings and we offer state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, including colonoscopies, stool DNA screening and genetic testing.
Thanks to screening and new therapies, the prognosis is very good for colon cancer when detected early. Colorectal cancer is one of the most curable cancers, but research shows tens of millions of people skip lifesaving screening due to fear of bowel prep, fear of the test and fear of the results. . Don’t let the anxiety of a colonoscopy keep you from getting tested. It is a painless examination performed under sedation and usually takes less than 30 minutes. Research has proven that colon cancer screening saves lives.”
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