The colon forms part of the large intestine, the last portion of the digestive tract. The colon’s length varies between 150 and 220 centimeters. In addition to reabsorbing fluids and processing waste products from the body, it prepares them for elimination. Among the most common malignant conditions is cancer of the colon, also known as colorectal cancer. In the United States, colon cancer is the third most common cancer in women and the fourth most common cancer in men.
The article will explain the causes, early symptoms, treatment methods, and recommended diet to help prevent colon cancer.
What causes colon cancer?
Tumours inside the colon, usually caused by polyps, are colon cancers. Removing Polyps in the colon is effective since they can turn into colon cancer when cells divide, forming tumours. Aside from the primary tumour, cancer cells may detach from it and spread to other body parts. One of the worst scenarios is colon cancer spreading to the liver.
Several factors can increase the risk of colon cancer, including genetics, family history, and Crohn’s disease.
Physical inactivity, excess weight, and drinking and smoking excessively are other risk factors. People with diabetes have a 40% higher risk than those without diabetes. Also, women who have already had ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer have an increased risk of recurrence and those who have already had colorectal cancer. If it appeared before the age of 60, it is more likely to return.
Early symptoms of colon cancer
At its earliest stages, colon cancer doesn’t usually cause symptoms. However, it may take several years before symptoms appear, so it is essential to have regular screenings for people over 50.
It usually occurs later in the course of the disease, when symptoms start to appear, and they differ based on the tumor’s location. For example, you might experience frequent diarrhea, chronic constipation, blood in your stool, anemia, a thin stool, or severe stomach cramps. Aside from a drastic weight loss, vomiting, and loss of appetite, these symptoms are often accompanied by fatigue and exhaustion.
The most serious problem is that patients typically consult their doctors when the disease has already advanced, significantly lowering the chances of successful treatment. The most common sites are the rectum, especially in men, the middle section, primarily in women, and the junction with the small intestines. Despite the higher incidence of this type of cancer among people over 50, it also affects younger people.
Colon cancer – How is it diagnosed?
A doctor who suspects that a patient may have colon cancer will review the patient’s complete medical history to determine symptoms and risk factors, such as family history. Examining abdomen carefully for masses and enlarged organs as part of the physical exam. Additionally, a digital rectal examination (DRE) and an occult blood test are conducted at this point.
When a patient with colorectal cancer undergoes prolonged bleeding from the tumour, the doctor will order a complete blood count to see if the patient has anemia (insufficient red blood cells). The liver function may also be checked using liver enzymes since colorectal cancer can spread to the liver.
In cases of suspected colorectal cancer, the doctor might recommend further tests, such as a colonoscopy, CAT scan, ultrasound, or MRI.
Treatment and prognosis of colon cancer
If detected early, colon cancer has a good prognosis following tumor removal during surgery. In these cases, the prognosis for successful treatment is excellent. However, when colon cancer cells spread to surrounding lymph nodes, surgery by itself is not enough; instead, it must be combined with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiotherapy.
Treatment of colon cancer is primarily based on the stage of the disease; early-stage cancer can be cured entirely, but later-stage cancer can only be partially treated.
The importance of nutritious foods in colon cancer treatment
Diets high in cholesterol and fat increase colon cancer risk. In addition, foods that contain a high amount of salt or additives like red meat, processed meats, and spicy foods also cause this condition. It is also essential to avoid white flour, bread, and sugar because they can trigger colon cancer. A diet high in grains, legumes, mushrooms, and fish (the omega-3 fat in fatty fish can reduce polyps) links to a reduced risk of developing polyps.
Foods high in fiber and antioxidants are vital, including fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition, the consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts can benefit greatly. People who have higher vitamin D levels in their bodies have up to 70% fewer chances of developing colon cancer (drinking a glass of skimmed milk every day is enough to boost your vitamin D levels).
When it comes to fighting colon cancer, Apple is a powerful ally. According to Chinese experts, polysaccharides from the fruit, which then break down into oligosaccharides, are highly effective in the treatment of colon cancer. Researchers discovered that these compounds work twice as well as chemotherapy for colon cancer 36 hours after the operation. To prevent cancer recurrence, doctors and nutritionists recommend eating an apple every day. Consuming apple cider vinegar can also help.
Powerful foods that can help prevent Colon Cancer
Due to their potent anti-inflammatory properties, red or white onions can prevent colon cancer. In addition, while cutting or chewing onions, compounds containing sulfur are released with anticancer properties. It is enough to eat one onion a day to keep cancer at bay. On the other hand, it contains quercetin and anthocyanin, which are powerful antioxidants that are effective in preventing the development of cancer.
Yellow or brown flaxseed is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vegetable fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Regular consumption of this seed promotes colon cleansing by eliminating harmful substances from the colon. This highly beneficial seed also prevents the formation of polyps and maintains good colon health. In addition, owing to lignin, a powerful antioxidant, flaxseed prevents colon cancer and other cancers.
In addition to being effective against many types of cancer, this tea is also effective against colon cancer. Studies conducted on lab rats showed that polyphenol E in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. One study found that rats receiving green tea daily had 80% fewer tumors. The recommended dosage is four to six cups a day.
Turmeric has medicinal properties that help in treating many diseases, including colon cancer. One of its active ingredients, curcumin, is an antioxidant with strong anti-inflammatory properties, destroys cancer cells, and inhibits tumor blood supply without damaging healthy cells.
Dandelion has been used to treat and prevent colon cancer. The herb slows down enzymes that block the action of compounds that play an important role in preventing cancer and preventing their growth and development.
Colon cancer is a debilitating disease that needs early diagnosis for successful treatment. Keeping a health diet and avoiding triggers may help prevent the formation of polyps which can turn cancerous. Monitor yourself closely for developing symptoms and seek medical attention in time.