Colon cancer, also known as bowel cancer, colorectal cancer, or rectal cancer, is the growth of cancer from the colon or rectum which is part of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer is mostly due to old age and lifestyle factors, with few cases of genetic disorders. These disorders represent less than 5% of case and they usually start as a benign tumour and overtime develop into a cancerous one.
The signs and symptoms depends on the pathological location of the tumor and probably its effect on the body system due to its spread from one part to another.
The typical signs to note is the presence of blood in the stool, deteriorating constipation, loss of appetite, loss of weight, decrease in stool thickness, and of course nausea or vomiting.
Rectal bleeding is a high-risk symptoms in people above the age of 50 and this is associated with weight changes and loss in a person’s bowel habit.
Risk factors such as old age, male sex, sugar, alcohol, high intake of fat, red meat, processed meats, obesity, smoking, and lack of exercise contribute to the development of colorectal cancer. However, about 10% of cases are linked to insufficient activity. Drinking 5 glasses of water a day can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps.
Recently, The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended the screening of colorectal cancer at age 45.
According to the guidelines published, regular supervision should continue at suggested intervals till age 75, while adults from ages 76 to 85 should make the decision individually. The task force assigned letter grades to its recommendations given an “A” grade to people of ages 50 to 75 years and a “B” to ages 45 to 49 years implicating that there’s high certainty of benefits to patients. For age 75 and above who are the “C” grade, the task force advice that patients discuss with their physician about the risks and benefits of screening. Meanwhile, the U.S. Task Force said the colorectal cancer is a devastating illness which is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
The Task Force also noted that colorectal cancer is more often seen in black adults than in other populations and they are more likely to die from this disease. Black Americans have the highest rate of colorectal cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with 40.4 percent compared to 36.3 percent for white people. In the draft recommendation, there are two types of tests recommended for colon cancer screening: directt visualization and stool-based tests.
According to Professor Adeyinka Adisa, a surgeon and surgical oncologist at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba, colon cancer is the second leading cancer affecting males in Nigeria.
He further noted that prostate is the number one cancer affecting men in Nigeria but the prevalence of colon cancer is extraordinary and colon cancer cases has increased in younger people in recent years.
Adisa added that colon cancer constitutes 5.8 percent of all new cancer cases in Nigeria and the rates of colon cancer are higher in males than in females perhaps because of truncal obesity common in males.
Screening people at a younger age would help groups that have been inexplicably affected by colon cancer and you shouldn’t wait for any cancer to become fatal, an early discovery and treatment are of greatest importance.