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When cells that are not normal grow in the rectum or in the colon colorectal cancer occurs. This is also called cancer of the colon or rectal cancer. It forms tumors as it grows. This type of cancer usually occurs in the life of people above 50 years of age and is one of the most common types of cancer in today. It is the second leading cancer deaths in America today and what makes it to be complex is that it is not detected easily.
Usually, it starts as polyps which are little growths inside the colon or the rectum. Colon polyps are very common though not all of them turn out to become cancer. However, it is very difficult to tell ahead which polyp will graduate to cancer and which one will not. This is why it is very important for people over 50 years old to go for test and ascertain if they have any polyps and if there is, it is necessary that they be removed.
What makes this particular type of cancer to be very dangerous is that it does not have any known symptom or the symptom may hide until it begins to spread. But while observing your body, which is a normal thing to do, if you notice the following symptoms in your body, you should try to see a doctor, because probably, colon cancer might be in place.
*Pain in the stomach (belly)
*When you begin to notice blood in your stool or you notice that your stool is unusually hard.
*When you are experiencing constant spooling or you notice that your bowels are not completely emptied after trying to do so, colon cancer may be in the pipeline.
In order to be sure that you are free from colorectal cancer, or to know if you have one, the first thing to do is to subject yourself to thorough medical check up. You have to go for a test called Colonoscopy. This test helps the doctor to see the entire inside of the colon and the rectum. The doctor will then, either remove the polyps, if there is any, or take tissue samples from areas that he thinks that are not normal. He will then examine these tissues through a microscope to be fully sure if there is any atom of colon cancer or not. There are other tests that can be carried out to know if there is colon cancer in the body or not, and this type of tests are called Barium enema or sigmoidoscopy.
In treating colon cancer, there are many methods of doing so, but the most common means of treatment is by surgery. Surgery is simply a process of removing the cancer when it is detected and the best time for the surgery is at the early stage of development. However, if the cancer has spread to the walls of the colon, it may not necessary need surgery; rather, more advanced method will be applied. This advanced method is called radiation or chemotherapy. Though these methods have side effects, with proper home care and medicine, it can be taken managed. When somebody discovers that he or she has cancer, it is advised that the person should seek for counseling or advice from a doctor instead of keeping quiet and he or she will be advised on what to do thereby reducing the tension that might occur because of the cancer. Also it is necessary that the person should try and meet with people suffering from cancer like him and know how they are coping. No matter how upset the person may be, it is advised that he should not keep quiet, but rather go out and seek for counsel.
How do we prevent colon cancer?
Colon or rectal cancer is common among people who are 50 years and above, so the best the best way to prevent it is to start earlier going for screening tests. During this period, if there are certain diseases or other conditions that may lead to cancer, it will be discovered and removed. Anybody who has a family history of colon cancer should not joke with this but rather take this screening exercise serious and it must be started early.
The most common screening tests are listed below:
* Facial occult blood test. This is a process whereby a small sample of stool is collected on a special card provided by the doctor and sent for an analysis in the laboratory. Some chemical substances will be dropped on the stool and if the solution changes color, it is an evidence of the presence of cancer.
** Sigmoidoscopy. In this process, the doctor will fix a flexible viewing tube from the rectum down to colon to enable him see the lower part of the intestine which is where most of the colon cancer grows.
***Barium enema. In this process, Barium which is a whitish liquid is poured into the rectum and the colon. This white liquid makes the colon more visible with an x-ray machine.
**** Colonoscopy. Here, the doctor puts a long flexible viewing tube into the rectum and the colon. This tube will be linked to a monitor that is similar to a T.V. screen .