Colon Cancer FAQ

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

No one looks forward to colon cancer screening, but it is an important tool to helping you stay healthy. Find out the answer to some commonly asked questions below.

 A diet that is high in fiber may offer some degree of protection from developing colorectal cancer. The degree to which dietary fiber intake reduces the development of adenomas or colon cancer is uncertain since the results of studies have been conflicting.

Reducing consumption of red meat, animal fats, and foods that have been processed, salted, smoked, or cured may have beneficial effects. If you choose to consume red meat, choosing lean cuts, and limiting intake to two four-ounce portions per week may be a reasonable compromise.

 Bleeding may be a sign of colon cancer. If you see blood in your stool, don’t panic. Certain conditions may cause rectal bleeding, not just colon cancer.
You should see a doctor as soon as possible, and they can help get a correct diagnosis and properly treat you.
Colon cancer often times has no symptoms, but might include:
  • Change in bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation)
  • Stomach or gas pains
  • Narrow stools
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue

 Technically, anyone of any age can get colon cancer, and one in twenty people will be diagnosed in their lifetime. However, 90 percent of people diagnosed are over age 50.
Colon cancer in younger individuals has been on the rise in the past few years,
Knowing your family history is one step towards preventing colon cancer. If you have a family history, you should begin screening younger than 50 with more frequency. Talk to your primary care provider about screening guidelines.

 Certain conditions may increase your risk of colon cancer. If you have an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis, collagenous colitis, or Crohn’s disease, you have a higher risk and should talk to a doctor about screening recommendations.
Those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Celiac disease, and diverticular disease are not at higher risk of getting colon cancer.