Colorectal cancer, also referred to as rectal cancer, colon cancer, or bowel cancer, impacts the colon and rectum and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women and the third leading cause of cancer death in male cases. According to the American Cancer Society, one in 21 males and one in 23 females are in danger of developing colorectal cancer in the course of their lifetime.
Recently however, the research body has released new guidelines which encourage people to get screened as early as the age of 45 since the patients suffering from this disease are getting younger and younger with medical experts at a loss to explain why the rate of the disease is steadily rising since 1994 whilst also being more prevalent amongst younger adults in recent years.
Causes and Symptoms
There are numerous symptoms of this cancer that if experienced, should set your alarm bells ringing; if you notice a change in your bowel behavior like diarrhea, constipation or changes in the texture of your stool which last more than a month, it is advised to get professional advice.
Other symptoms include bloody stool, rectal bleeding, weakness, sudden weight loss and abdominal cramps but it is also worth noting that in the early stages of rectal cancer, none of these symptoms can be experienced with the signs being noticeable as the cancer progresses into its latter stages.
If you experience any of these symptoms for prolonged periods, it is recommended to seek professional medical advice and make an appointment with your doctor who shall recommend the screening procedure and frequency depending on your medical condition and age.
When is a Medical checkup and Screening necessary?
People who are at higher than average risk of contracting this disease are recommended to get screened and tested earlier in their lifetime to prevent the cancer from progressing into its later stages; if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or a personal history of either colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps, it might be wise to get a check-up around the age of 45 to reduce the risk.
If you have a personal history of inflammatory diseases like ulcerative colitis or prior treatments like radiation therapy in the abdomen or pelvic area then it is recommended to get regular check-ups and contacting a medical provider who can recommend the most suitable screening options and schedule for you to adhere to.
People who are at an average risk of contracting this disease are recommended to start the screening process around the age of 45 whilst people who are healthy and have a life expectancy of more than 10 years are advised to stick with a consistent schedule of medical screening up to the age of 75.
People between ages 75 and 85 should consult their personal doctors about the recommended route of screening based on their personal preferences and medical health including life expectancy and previous medical history while people over the age of 85 are not required to undergo rectal screening.
Preventing Colorectal Cancer
There are a number of steps and measures that can be taken to ensure that the risk of developing colorectal cancer can be greatly diminished and chief amongst which is regular screening; people who are considered to be at a higher than average risk of contracting this disease should adhere to a strict regimen of regular medical screening.
Nutrition can also play a key role in preventing the contraction of this disease and a healthy dietary regimen which includes fiber rich whole foods like fruits and vegetables along with a reduced intake of red meat, processed meat and saturated fats can help keep your body in a much healthier shape.
Additionally, it is also recommended to keep your physical shape in check; being obese or overweight can greatly increase your chances of developing numerous cancers and other medical conditions. Additionally, exercise and regular workout can also be greatly beneficial and it is proven that physical activity can lower the risk of developing numerous diseases and cancers including rectal and colon cancer.