Choosing To Live Better

What You Need To Know About Colon Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, the third most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the United States is colon cancer. In fact, nearly 137,000 people are estimated to get diagnosed with this type of cancer and just over 50,000 are expected to die from it. While these are some pretty grim statistics, the good news is there are some things you can to prevent colon cancer and there are also some effective forms of treatment available.

Preventing Colon Cancer

There are certain risk factors for colon cancer that can't be changed. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Being over the age of 50
  • You have a history of polyps or colon cancer
  • You have a family history of colon cancer

Even if you have some or all of these risk factors, there are certain steps you can take to help alleviate the chances of getting colon cancer. The first thing you'll want to do is try to maintain a healthy weight. Something you can do to achieve this is to eat foods that help to prevent cancer.

Eating healthy fats like salmon and plenty of fruits and veggies (especially yellow and orange ones) can aid in preventing colon cancer. Eating a diet high in fiber is also beneficial. You should also stay away from cigarettes. One more step you can take is to schedule your colonoscopy. The earlier colon cancer is detected the easier the treatment and more effective it can be.

Treatment for Colon Cancer

If you do happen to get diagnosed with this type of cancer, there are some effective treatment options available. The type of treatment will largely depend on what stage the cancer is at. Early stage colon cancer can be treated by removing polyps, doing a procedure called endoscopic mucosal resection, or undergoing minimally invasive surgery. For more invasive cancer, a partial colectomy or a lymph node removal may be required.

For advanced stages of colon cancer, in addition to surgery, chemotherapy along with radiation therapy are used to treat colon cancer. Chemotherapy involves using drugs to destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often used if the cancer has spread to the rectum. This is another way to kill cancer cells, except it is done by using energy sources like x-rays. Some common side effects of these two types of treatment include fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and skin irritation.

Nobody likes the thought of getting diagnosed with colon cancer but the more you know about it, the better equipped you'll be to prevent it. Contact a hospital, like Firelands Regional Medical Center, for more help.