Colon and rectal cancer, also known as colorectal, is the third most commonly diagnosed but rarely fatal. However, if not detected earlier or left untreated, it can cause devastating effects on your overall health. It often occurs when growths develop in your colon lining. As a result, you might notice early symptoms of blood stains in stool, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, and persistent changes in bowel habits. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact an Astoria colon and rectal cancer specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment. While colorectal cancer occurs for various reasons, you can increase your risk of developing through the following factors and conditions.
Colorectal cancer is more common in older adults, particularly those above 50 years. However, it can also affect younger adults and teenagers. It is the third most common cancer in older men and women. Even though colorectal cancer increases with age, you can lower your risk of developing it through regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight. Discuss with your doctor to determine whether you are at risk of colorectal cancer as with age.
People with a family history of colorectal cancer have an increased risk of the disease. Suppose you have one or more first-degree relatives diagnosed with colorectal cancer, including parents, siblings, or children. Then you will also be at a greater risk of developing the disease later in life. If you suspect a family history of colorectal cancer, consult your doctor early enough for a genetic test. This test can help detect whether you have a genetic mutation of colorectal cancer.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an autoimmune condition that often causes inflammation in your colon and small intestine. These effects can lead to cancer. You can develop IBD from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both conditions often cause chronic inflammation in your digestive tract, including your rectum and large intestine. IBD can last for years without causing cancer symptoms. Therefore, if you have a history of IBD, talk with your doctor for effective preventative measures.
Colorectal Polyps or Adenomas
Colorectal cancer is a disease that can be prevented by early detection. However, if you have colorectal polyps or adenomas, it is important to have them checked periodically by your doctor. A colonoscopy is the best way to check for these types of tumors.
If you have had previous polyps removed, you might need regular screening tests to prevent them from reoccurring. These screening tests help monitor changes in your body that might increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Diet and Lifestyle Factors
Research suggests that a high-fat, low-fiber, high-calorie diet may increase your risk of colorectal cancer by 50%. Some studies suggest that being overweight or obese, not exercising regularly, and smoking may increase your risk of colon and rectal cancers. However, making healthy lifestyle modifications can lower the risk and increase your quality of life. Consult your dietician for guidance if you are unsure about diet.
Colon and rectal cancer can cause mental, physical, and emotional distress. If you notice rectal bleeding, it is important to call your doctor immediately so they can check it out. Also, If your symptoms worsen or become persistent, visit an emergency room for a colonoscopy or other tests that might identify cancerous polyps and tumors.