Colon (or colorectal) cancer is among some of the most commonly occurring cancers in the United States. According to cancer.org 1, on average, 1 out of 23 men and 1 out of 25 women will develop colon or rectal cancer over the span of their life.
As with all cancers, being proactive about your health and your body can lead to a more positive result. If you’re wondering what are the signs of colon cancer, read on. Knowing what to look for in the early stages of colon cancer might mean you can catch it before it progresses. Once you are able to get an early diagnosis, you’ll be able to seek the right colon cancer natural treatment for a promising recovery.
Taking initiative is the first step to a happy and healthy future.
First of All — What is Colon Cancer?
As you may or may not know, the colon — also known as the large intestine — is part of your digestive system. Colon cancer, like other forms of cancer, is caused by mutations in the DNA. These mutations result in the abnormal growth of cells within the colon.
Colon cancer can affect people of all ages, though it’s more common in adults over the age of 50. Along with colon cancer, it’s also known as colorectal or rectal cancer, which refers to cancers that start in the rectum and can then spread to the large intestine. Colon cancer is often characterized by small, benign clumps that form in the colon. These growths, called colon polyps, can grow larger and become cancerous.
What Are the Early Signs of Colon Cancer?
In the early stages of colon cancer, there are normally no noticeable symptoms. The symptoms can vary depending on the tumor size and where the tumor is located within the colon.
However, early signs of colon cancer can include:
Unexplained or sudden weight loss without trying to lose weight can be one of the first signs of colon cancer. Similarly, loss of appetite or nausea can be signs as well.
Rectal bleeding should never be ignored and is one of the main symptoms of colon cancer. With colon cancer, look for bleeding that is either bright or dark red in color.
Narrow, ribbon-like stool shape is one of the more frequent early signs of colon cancer. While a change in bowel movements may be common, if problems persist, it is highly recommended to visit a doctor.
Tenesmus refers to the feeling that you must empty your bowel, yet nothing passes. This is a sign of bowel cancer to stay alert for.
As always, knowing your body (and your bowel habits) helps you stay on top of your health. Look for alternating diarrhea and constipation or any noticeable change in bowel movements, particularly if these habits are persistent.
Anemia caused by an iron deficiency is another one of the early signs of colon cancer. Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia can include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, cold hands and feet, headaches, inflammation of the tongue, brittle nails and chest pain.
Consistent abdominal pain is also something to be aware of, including cramps, gas, or discomfort.
General feelings of weakness or fatigue is something else to stay on top of. Instead of reaching for that extra cup of coffee, listen to your body, so you can be more aware of what is and isn’t feeling right.
Keep in mind that these first signs of colon cancer can also be brought on by less-serious issues and inflammatory diseases. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor.
Later Symptoms of Metastatic Colon or Colorectal Cancer
Now that we’ve covered what the early signs of colon cancer are, it’s good to arm yourself with knowledge of the later symptoms as well. Like early signs of colon cancer, these symptoms depend on the size of the tumors and where exactly the cancer has spread.
If the bones are affected, symptoms might include things like fractures, pain or high calcium levels.
If the lungs are affected, patients might have difficulty breathing or may experience shortness of breath and coughing.
With an affected liver, there may be symptoms of nausea, jaundice, fatigue, swelling of feet and hands and increased abdominal mass.
When the lymph nodes of the abdomen are affected, there may be bloating and a loss of appetite.
If the brain is affected, symptoms can include memory loss, pain, confusion, headaches, blurred vision, and difficulty speaking.
How to Be Proactive and Decrease Your Risk of Colon Cancer?
The exact cause of the genetic mutation that causes colon polyps to form is not known. Family history might increase the risk of colon cancer diagnosis, as can various lifestyle choices.
But, despite how common colon cancer is, there are a variety of things you can do in order to decrease your chances of getting colon cancer. From getting screened to maintaining a healthy diet, here are several ways you can kick colon cancer goodbye. Being proactive means lowering your risk not just for colon cancer — but for all cancers.
Getting screened, especially if you have a family history of colon cancer, is an important part of staying proactive. While colon cancer can be hereditary, it is not the sole cause, which means everyone should do a colorectal cancer screening through a colonoscopy. Colon cancer screening tests can look for cancer cells before the early signs of colon cancer even develop. They can frequently find growths on the colon, or polyps, that can be taken out before cancer develops. For people at average risk, The American Cancer Society suggests 2 that you start colonoscopy testing at the age of 45.
Regular exercise may decrease your risk of colon cancer. Whether it’s a long walk in the afternoon or a weekend yoga class, find some form of exercise you’re passionate about and get moving. Implementing exercise into your daily wellness routine can easily become something that brings you joy. Instead of viewing regular exercise as a burden or a task, view it as your way to say thank you to your body.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is a crucial component of overall wellness. For those that are obese or overweight, the risk is increased, so it’s important to find healthy ways to control your weight. Diets that include hearty whole grains and fresh vegetables and fruit have been associated with a lowered risk of colon cancer. Avoid processed and red meats, as large consumption of these may also contribute to your risk of colon cancer. Increased consumption of meats cooked at high temperatures and diets that are low in fiber but high in fats may also put individuals at a higher risk for colon cancer.
In an article from Medical News Today 3, a study from the Loma Linda University in California found that vegetarian-style diets were linked to a decreased risk of colorectal cancer. Four types of plant-based diets were included in the research. All four of them were shown to be less likely to lead to cancer than non-vegetarian diets.
- Vegan: The vegan diet calls for strictly no products of animal origin.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian: This specific type of vegetarian diet includes dairy and eggs but no meat.
- Pescovegetarian: A pescovegetarian diet includes fish but no meat.
- Semivegetarian: This diet includes meat and fish, though it does so infrequently
Smoking & Alcohol
American Cancer Society states 4 that long-term smokers have a higher chance than non-smokers to develop and die from colon cancer. Alcohol has also been linked to a higher risk of colon cancer, so if you’re going to drink, limit alcohol and drink in moderation. American Cancer Society suggests that men should not exceed more than two drinks per day and women no more than one drink per day. Keep In mind that a single drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1½ ounces of 80-proof hard liquor.
Increased risk factors for developing colon cancer include inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The longer that you have experienced an inflammatory bowel disease, the greater the risk. Diabetes has also been shown to increase the risk of colon cancer.
Colon Cancer Natural Treatment Options
If you’ve noticed the first signs of colon cancer and have visited your doctor, this is the first step, and it’s often followed by a treatment plan if necessary. Types of treatment for colorectal cancer may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.
With a wide range of alternative cancer treatments available, Immunity Therapy Center can help support your recovery without the negative side effects of conventional cancer treatment.
The team at our holistic cancer treatment center is dedicated to personalized treatment plans that are customized to fit your unique needs. For more information about natural treatment options, feel free to contact us today. Before prescribing any cancer treatments or alternative therapies, Dr. Bautista completes a thorough consultation and evaluation. He then tailors your treatments specifically to your body.
We look forward to becoming a positive (and proactive) part of your journey to wellness. From Dr. Bautista, and all of us at ITC, we’re wishing you a happy and healthy day ahead.