Colon cancer is now a pressing concern in the United States. However, unlike most cancer ailments, the good news is that colon cancer can be prevented and also cured if there is early detection. Emerging medical evidence relates to a possibility of transmission of mother to child in cases of an abnormal gene for colon polyps. The hereditary structures of these genes control the growth and multiplication of the cells surrounding the colon. In the absence of such controlling genes, uncontrolled polyps grow and turn into cancer.
A colon polyp is a mushroom or dome-shaped tumor which occurs on the inside lining of the colon. Most of these tumors are benign in the initial stage but will eventually become malignant especially if they are big in size. Therefore, colon cancer prevention includes prompt action in managing polyps before they turn malignant. These growths can be detected and removed using a colonoscopy. There are a special population of people who are at higher risk of developing colon cancer and these are:
- Those who are above the age of 40
- History of malignant tumors like breasts cancer
- Poor diet
- Chronic Ulcerative Colitis
- Family history of colon cancer
Lifestyle changes and management
Good lifestyle habits form a good pattern of colon cancer prevention.
There are also steps you can take in colon cancer prevention and this is by making the necessary changes in your life. These include:
- Healthy diet- Consume a lot of fruits, veggies and whole grains. These food groups contain the essential vitamins; minerals and antioxidant, which help keep cancer at bay. It's also good to eat a variety of fruits and not just a specific fruit so as to maximize intake of vitamins and minerals.
- Avoid alcohol- If you have to, take in very minimal quantities. For women, the recommended amount is one drink and for men two drinks.
- Stop smoking- Smoking is the leading cause of at least 14 types of cancers including colon cancer. Talk to your doctor about the practical and effective ways to stop smoking.
- Exercise more often- A good routine of exercise on a regular basis helps keep your body active and discourages an environment where cancer cells brood.
- Lose weight- You might do this gradually by increasing the amount of exercise while at the same time reducing your calorie intake.
- Get screened- Regular screening test is one of the best ways for colon cancer prevention. Early detection means that the condition can be treated and it's also an effective way of spotting the polyps which often turn into cancer. Some tests are simple yet may need to be done more often while others are more complicated but are done less often. Your choice will depend on personal preference or medical history.
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