Facts About Colorectal Cancer

Facts About Colorectal Cancer

Oct 01

There are some great fundraising organizations and awareness campaigns about different types of cancer, such as the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness or Relay for Life, which raises money for all kinds of cancer research. However, some types of cancers are rarely talked about at all, while others are given more money than the researchers know what to do with. 

Even though March is colorectal awareness month, colorectal cancer is hardly paid attention to at all. 10,000 more people die from colon cancer than breast cancer each year, but research toward colon cancer gets half the federal funding that breast cancer does. In fact, 50,260 people are estimated to die from colorectal cancer every year. 

Colorectal cancer is the combined term for colon and rectal cancer, which are very similar. They are often grouped together because they affect the body similarly. Almost 100,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer every year. This is a huge number of people and a huge number of families who are affected by this disease.

Colorectal cancer usually begins as polyps (growths) on the inside of the colon or rectum. Not all polyps are cancerous, but the more polyps someone has and the bigger they are, the more likely it is that they will develop cancer. Cancerous polyps will seep into the walls of the colon or rectum and from there spread out through lymph or blood vessels to the rest of the body, making it difficult to remove the cancer if it progresses far enough. The best chance of eradicating colorectal cancer is by removing cancerous polyps before they are able to seep past the innermost layer of the colon. 

Groups such as Gastro Care LI work to provide help to people suffering from colorectal cancer. On their website, I found important information on how to reduce the risk of contracting colorectal cancer, such as avoiding:

  • Red meat
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Heavy drinking

While this isn’t an exact science, it has been proven that avoiding excessive consumption of meat, smoking, and drinking is beneficial to people who have a history of cancer in their family. People who are concerned about colorectal cancer should also make sure to get plenty of exercise. Incorporating some form of exercise, whether it be walking, riding a bike, or playing a team sport, is a great way to stay fit and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. 

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, as well as unexplained weight loss, you should see a doctor immediately. Catching colorectal cancer early by undergoing colonoscopies and cancer screening could end up saving your life.

 

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