Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer
Colon Cancer is on the rise, and studies show that 60% of men are more likely to get it because of sedentary lifestyles. A sedentary lifestyle involves a lot of sitting, and in this computer age I’m going to assume that percentage is based on the fact that so many of us do most or all of our work on computers.

Many women are suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is a risk factor for getting colon cancer. And many of those women also sit at computers all day, either working at home or out in the work place. I work from home to write these articles, and I can tell you that I have experienced more intestinal irritation since I’ve been doing it, which tells me a lot. We all need to take more breaks, get up and move around every several hours. All of our organs need room to be able to work properly.

The colon is the large intestine, which is the lower part of the digestive system. Rectal cancer involves the last several inches of the colon. Together, they are colorectal cancer. People that develop the disease usually notice changes in the bowel habits. Those at risk are usually over fifty years of age, African-American, have a personal history of polyps, inflamed intestines, ulcerative colitis, and Chron’s Disease. Some family histories may not necessarily be genetic, but might be due to exposure to the same environmental carcinogens, eating the same diet and having the same lifestyle.

A common precursor to colon cancer is polyps inside the intestine. Polyps can develop over a period of many years, and often go undetected until intestinal discomfort is noticed or bowel changes occur. There are two different kinds of polyps, one type protrudes out from the intestinal wall and can be removed by surgery. The other kind is flat or recessed and is harder to detect, and is less common. Chronic polyps can become pre-cancerous, which makes a person at higher risk for getting colon cancer. A Gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in the intestines and digestive system, can do tests, usually a colonoscopy, and remove them on the spot. It is an out-patient procedure.

Guidelines for screening usually begin at 50 years of age. However, if colon cancer runs in your family history, your doctor should begin earlier and perform more frequent tests. There are at least three tests your doctor can do to screen you thoroughly.

Avoid or cut down on red meat and processed foods. And avoid becoming constipated. Chronic constipation not only causes much discomfort, it is not good for your intestinal health. You need to have one regular bowel movement per day. Pain medication is very constipating, so if you take them, be sure to take something to help move your bowels. Your doctor can recommend a prescription, or if you can take over-the-counter medication, there are plenty of products on the market that can help. I have found stool-softeners helpful because they are gentle on the system, and accomplish the same result. Some products are more aggressive, and can actually cause intense abdominal pain. If the instructions say that it works very fast, personally, I would avoid it.

Eat foods high in antioxidants, which reside in fresh veggies and fruits. A diet high in fiber, is a great start to having a healthy intestinal tract. Most food products now have fiber listed on the labels. Make sure the fat and sugar content are low, and that the protein and fiber content is high.

Moving around gets our blood flowing, and moves our lymphatic system better. Warning signs that you've sat too long is a headache, or swollen ankles. It would be beneficial if you could balance out your routine by scheduling in exercise breaks, just like you would schedule anything else important. Add it to your activity calendar, set your alarm on your cell, or maybe your office assistant could remind you to take a break to help you get started.

It is a documented fact that 10 billion dollars is spent annually on cancer research. I’m going to do my part to make sure the number of cases goes down. How about you?

Source: Mayo Clinic

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