Colon cancer is a mysterious disease as doctors don’t know exactly what causes it. Healthy cells grow and divide in a body that is functioning normally. But if colon cancer is present, the healthy cells in the colon create errors in the patient’s DNA. As the cells build-up and multiply, they form a tumor. As the cells continue to grow they destroy healthy tissue and travel to other body parts.
The Odds of Getting Colon Cancer
Doctors have determined that certain factors do increase the odds of a person getting colon cancer. The majority of people diagnosed are over the age of 50. African-American’s are at a greater risk than other races. Having a family history of colon cancer can increase a person’s odds. Having a preexisting condition such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or diabetes can also increase the likelihood that a person will develop colon cancer. Smoking, heavy alcohol use and obesity also increase the risks.
People that develop colon cancer have unique symptoms that vary but the most common symptoms include;
- Bowel changes such as diarrhea or constipation
- Bleeding in the rectum area
- Blood in the stool
- Dark stools
- Stomach cramps or pain
- Weight Loss
Early Screening is the Key
Early screening is recommended and people experiencing the above symptoms should seek medical help. Doctors may examine the inside of the colon by using a long, flexible tube that is attached to video camera. If abnormal tissue is found, a biopsy will be taken for analysis. Blood tests may also be done however a blood test will not tell you if you have colon cancer, it will however indicate if you have other health issues. If a person is diagnosed with colon cancer the doctor will order tests to determine which stage of cancer they are in.