The colon also is known as the large bowel or large intestine. The colon plays a very important role in how our bodies use the food we eat. Your stool is filled with bacteria, so it is important to pass this out of your body.
If your colon isn’t working the way it should, you will experience problems such as bloating, gas and pain. The colon has below functions to perform;
- Digestion and absorption of nutrients
- To concentrate fecal material from absorbed fluids
- To process the fecal material
Related: What is cancer? How does it begin?
What is Colon cancer?
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, and the third for men. Cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer. It begins when healthy cells in the lining of the colon or rectum change and grow out of control, forming a tumor.
Colorectal cancer most often begins as a polyp, a noncancerous growth that may develop on the inner wall of the colon or rectum as people get older. If not treated or removed, a polyp can become a potentially life-threatening cancer.
Polyps are abnormal tissue growths that most often look like small, flat bumps or tiny mushroomlike stalks. Most polyps are small and less than half an inch wide. Their abnormal growth could be cancerous. Hence, regular screening is important to identify in the initial stages.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 1 in 21 men and 1 in 23 women in the United States will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime.
Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:
- A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, that lasts longer than four weeks
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- Persistent abdominal discomforts, such as cramps, gas or pain
- A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
The symptoms may likely vary, depending on cancer’s size and location in your large intestine.
Prevent colon cancer with Healthy Lifestyle
According to a study published by Tech Explorist, the lifestyle factors proved to be of about equal importance in colorectal cancer prevention. It suggests that adopting a healthy lifestyle goes a long way toward preventing colon cancer.
The study was conducted on 4000 bowel cancer patients and 3000 healthy control subjects. And it analyzed the results on five lifestyle parameters like
- Adherence to Healthy Diet
- The level of physical activeness
- The body weight
- Smoking or Non-smoking
- High or low alcohol consumption
According to Michael Hoffmeister from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), “The more healthy lifestyle factors the participants combined, the lower was their risk of developing bowel cancer. Those who cultivated a consistently healthy lifestyle had the lowest risk of colon cancer. ”
The study does not include the family history as a parameter. The relationship between lifestyle and colorectal cancer risk was also independent of the study participants’ family history.
Outcomes of the study have shown substantial epidemiological pieces of evidence that lifestyle changes may influence colorectal cancer risk. It involves healthy eating, physical-mental soundness, and altering long-term habits.
The Scientists are further planning to investigate to what extent the risk of colon cancer can be reduced by several preventive measures. If a person has an increased genetic risk, by which extent lifestyle modification and performance of the preventive measures will be beneficial is still uncovered.
It is recommended to live a healthy lifestyle applies to everyone, regardless of their genetic risk of colon cancer.