Colon Cancer – Risk Factors and Early Detection

by Sophia McMullen
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Colon Cancer - Risk Factors and Early Detection

Although early detection is key to a cure for colon cancer, some cancers cannot be treated. Surgery for colon cancer may be necessary to remove the cancer and surrounding healthy tissue. Surgery may be performed by laparoscopic means, where a surgeon uses a thin, lighted tube to make an incision in the abdomen and insert a tiny camera and special surgical instruments. Later-stage cancers may require a total colectomy, during which the entire colon is removed. The surgeon may use other methods to rebuild the colon’s functionality, such as creating a stoma.

There is no one single risk factor for colon cancer. However, certain lifestyle habits, such as heavy alcohol consumption and smoking, may increase the risk. In addition, smoking and drinking alcohol increase colon cancer risk. Regular exercise may help lower the risk of colon cancer, and screening tests for colon cancer may help detect it early before symptoms develop. Colon cancer is one of the most curable diseases, so early detection is key. There are several factors that increase the risk of colon cancer, including being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol.

A diet rich in fiber and low in fat may also help reduce colon cancer risk. The benefits of eating high fiber and low-fat foods are well documented. It is important to note that the risk for colon cancer increases with age. People over the age of 50 should be screened for colorectal cancer. Those with a family history of the disease should get regular screenings to determine if there is a risk. Even if a person has no symptoms, a high-fiber diet and regular physical activity will help.

A biopsy is another way to diagnose colon cancer. It is a process wherein tissue and cells are removed and examined under a microscope. Pathologists will check the DNA of stool cells for changes in DNA that may indicate colorectal cancer. While colonoscopy is the most accurate screening evaluation, other testing options include DNA analysis and fecal occult blood tests. A patient’s risk for colorectal cancer is determined by his or her family history. However, even a change in bowel habits or a change in stool is a symptom of the disease.

Oxaliplatin, a fluorouracil-based chemotherapy, became standard treatment in 2004 after the MOSAIC trial. The trial randomly assigned patients to receive FU/LV alone or FU/LV plus oxaliplatin. In the latter group, patients were administered a bolus of FU 400 mg/m and a 22-hour infusion of oxaliplatin. They were then given 85 mg/m each day for six months.

As with any type of cancer, the best way to combat colon cancer is early detection. The earlier the cancer is detected, the better the chances are for a cure. Many forms of treatment are available for colon cancer, and early diagnosis is key. There are various treatments for colon cancer, but despite the high death rate, colon cancer is still one of the most treatable forms of cancer. If diagnosed early enough, colon cancer may be completely curable.

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