Early stages of cancer of the colon usually exhibit no symptoms, which is why it is hard to diagnose unless it’s already in the much later stages.
Symptoms will also vary according to the size of the cancer and its location in the intestine.
Signs and symptoms of cancer of the colon include rectal bleeding, weakness, chronic fatigue, change in bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, and persistent abdominal discomfort such as gas or cramps.
If you recognize any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately.
However, there are still many ways you can prevent cancer of the colon. You can start off by doing the following:
1. With age being one of the major risk factors for cancer of the colon, it’s highly recommended to go for regular colon screening if you are 50 or older. Research has shown that over 90% of those diagnosed with colon cancer are over 50, and screening makes for a great preventive method.
2. Studies have shown that regular exercise can decrease the risk for colon cancer by as much as 40%, so integrating this into your lifestyle will increase your immunity to this disease.
You will also be able to benefit from a stronger immune system through exercise which will also prevent other sicknesses and forms of cancer.
3. Having a healthy diet composed of high-fiber and rich in fruits and vegetables is an important way you can prevent cancer of the colon. Diets that are rich in fat and cholesterol on the other hand, have been linked to a higher risk for colon cancer.
4. Obese men are at higher risk for developing cancer of the colon, as compared to obese women, so if you fall in this category you should take the extra precaution to being active with other preventive methods.
Go on a diet and exercise program which will help you reduce your risk and keep your heart healthy too. It has also been shown that body types that tend to have more body fat around the waist or have an apple shape are also at higher risk for cancer of the colon.
5. Check your family’s medical history because there may lie a key here that will put you at higher risk. Research has shown that those who have family genetic histories linked to cancer of the colon have a higher risk of developing the disease, as well as those who are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
When talking to your doctor, don’t forget to mention if your family has also had history of other relevant cancers such as that of the stomach or liver, because this may also affect your risk for cancer of the colon.
6. Quit smoking – this contributes to a number of cancers that develop in the body and will also make you more prone to cancer of the colon.
This is because the smoke inhaled transports carcinogens to the colon area, and the smoke itself will increase the size of the polyps, which appear during the initial stages of colon cancer.