From the latest statistics released in 2018, it was found that cancer is the 2nd biggest killer worldwide and the 3rd in new cases found*.
Additionally, it is estimated that more than 3,000 deaths per year resulting from colon cancer are not officially reported. Those aged 45 and above as well as those younger but with a family history of colon cancer are especially at risk.
These numbers are worrying. There needs to be an increase in colon cancer screening amongst Thai people. Otherwise, the aforementioned cancer rates could be doubling over the next decade.
We can prevent Colon cancer if we identify it early. Doctors can use colonoscopy to diagnose, and if they find precancerous polyp, they can remove it in up to 90% of cases. Alternatively, in cases of early stage cancer, treatment is available that can provide a cure for the disease.
In many cases, adenomatous polyps result in colon cancer. While it is still unclear why this happens, they usually affect those aged above 45. Hence, doctors recommend that people undergo regular screening for colon cancer. If the aforementioned polyps are identified early, doctors can remove them before they develop into cancer. Alternatively, where those polyps are its initial stages of cancer, you can receive treatment before the cancer spreads to other organs.
Early stage colon cancer tends not to display any symptoms. Patients often neglect the proper care of their colon and digestive system. Instead, if you experience any of the following irregular symptoms, please consult your doctor for a thorough diagnosis:
Colon cancer patients often do not experience any symptoms whatsoever during the disease’s early stages. Moreover, when there are symptoms, they can differ greatly from case to case, depending on the size and location of the cancer within the colon. Therefore, if one experiences any one one or more of these warnings consult a doctor immediately for colon cancer screening. This is especially important for those considered to have high risks.
The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone, especially at-risk patients, undergo screening from the age of 45 onwards. For patients with a family history of colon cancer, however, screening may need to begin earlier.
Screening for colon cancer during its initial stages is the most effective way to prevent or halt the disease. Doctors recommend that the following forms of screening should be carried out from the age of 45 onwards, regardless of gender:
If a patient’s cancer is in the 1st stage, doctors will usually perform surgery to remove the cancerous tissue. However, if the cancer is in its 2nd or 3rd stages, with a higher chance of making a return, doctors usually consider chemotherapy medication and radiation therapy. Doctors can provide both these treatments either pre or post-surgery.
In addition to surgical removal of the cancer and radiation therapy, patients whose cancer is in the 4th stage may need to undergo supplementary courses of chemotherapy. Furthermore, if the cancer has spread to the surrounding organs, doctors will need to carefully consider on how they will treat those organs on a case-by-case basis.
We have seen that although the true causes of colon cancer remain unknown, the disease can affect any of us. Having said that, the risk factors mentioned above are the result of a person’s lifestyle. Therefore, the most effective form of prevention is to make suitable modifications to our diet and lifestyle habits. This means avoiding foods that are high in fat, increasing the amount of fiber we consume, drinking plenty of water and not forgetting to exercise regularly. Furthermore, training ourselves to excrete properly also helps prevent constipation.
People over the age of 45 or those with a heightened genetic risk of colon cancer should undergo annual screening assessments. The annual assessments should include FOBT, which has been proven to lower colon cancer fatality rates. In addition, they should get colonoscopy examinations done every 10 years. All of these steps can help protect against colon cancer. If doctors can identify the condition in its initial stages, they can successfully treat it.