Cancer of the colon is one of the common causes of cancer related deaths, but it can be prevented with timely intervention. Individuals can protect themselves and their loved ones from colon cancer by following certain preventive tips.
Symptoms of colon cancer normally manifest themselves when the disease has already spread. Hence it is better to go for regular screenings and investigations to prevent the cancer from appearing in the colon. This is especially important for people in the high risk area, like those with a family history of colon cancer, those over the age of fifty, people with unhealthy lifestyles and those who are obese.
There are several screening options available and the doctor can decide on the most suitable. These may be a colonoscopy, an annual fecal occult blood testing, a flexible sigmoidoscopy and a virtual colonoscopy. The doctor may detect some polyps in the colon or rectum during the course of screening and these could be removed before they turn into cancerous tumors. This is one of the best preventive methods for colon cancer.
If the individual experiences any changes in the functioning of the bowels like rectal bleeding, thin pencil like stools, diarrhea, constipation, etc. for prolonged periods he should immediately consult a doctor to rule out the possibility of colon cancer.
One of the best methods of colon cancer prevention is to have a healthy diet of high fiber and low fat food. The vitamins, fiber, minerals and antioxidants present in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and even in wheat bran help prevent colon cancer. These help increase fecal bulk and reduces the risk of the colon being exposed to carcinogens. One should avoid the excessive consumption of red meat and food which is rich in fat content.
Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise would also help in colon cancer prevention. Those with excessive fat around the waist are at risk of contracting colon cancer.
Cancer of the colon can be prevented by regular exercise. This helps in reducing the other risk factors like diabetes and obesity.
An individual should inform the doctor if there is a family history of colon cancer or polyps as this puts them at a risk for contracting the disease. The doctor should also be informed about any incidences of cancer in other parts of the body, suffered by family members.
If the doctor is kept informed about the personal medical history of the patient it goes a long way in the prevention of colon cancer. Knowledge about any other cancer suffered by the patient, polyps and a change in bowel habits are all relevant information which can help the doctor decide on the necessary investigations.
Smoking also puts an individual at risk for contracting colon cancer. This is because the smoke inhaled can carry carcinogens to the colon and also it may increase the size of any polyps present in the colon. To prevent colon cancer one should give up smoking.
A person at risk for colon cancer should discuss methods of prevention of the disease with the doctor and also their benefits. Colon cancer can be prevented and even cured with regular screening and by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.