Cancer of the colon is more common in senior individuals, but those in the younger age category can develop it too. The first stage is when polyps develop at the site of the disease, eventually turning malign. Polyps are small clumps of cells and are usually benign in nature. They are formed inside the large intestine and are usually small, plus less in number. Hence, symptoms of colon cancer are not often detected early on.
Causes of colon cancer
The condition has not been attributed to one single cause just yet but the research is going on. The general thought of the occurrence of colon cancer is that there is a mutation in the cells in the large intestine. This leads to a change in the cells in the colon, resulting in a shift in the DNA. With a changed DNA, the cells become damaged and this leads to colon cancer. As the cells divide at an abnormal rate, they begin to form tumors in the large intestine. Over a period of time, the cancerous cells hamper the functions of the healthy tissues. Cancer can also spread from the large intestine to the nearby body parts.
Symptoms of colon cancer
It is equally important to know about the causes and symptoms of colon cancer, especially if one is at risk of the condition. The signs of the disease do not always show up in the earlier stages and can be mistaken for symptoms of another condition too. It is only in the later stages that symptoms are rarely misdiagnosed.
Now that the causes of colon cancer have been discussed, here are some of the major symptoms of the condition.
1. Changes in bowel habits
A prolonged change in bowel habits could be a symptom of colon cancer. This could manifest as diarrhea or constipation. Also, there will be a change in the consistency of the stools. If you suddenly notice a regular disruption in your bowel habits, consult a doctor.
Constant tiredness and weakness are other common symptoms of colon cancer as the cancerous cells deplete the body’s energy. However, this symptom could also be due to other health conditions. Hence, you should check with your doctor at the soonest.
3. Discomfort in the abdominal region
If you suddenly start getting cramps in your stomach, this could be a symptom of colon cancer. Even an increase in gas in the body could be a sign of this disease.
4. Sudden weight loss
Another symptom to keep in mind is drastic, unexplained weight loss.
5. Rectal bleeding
Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding is one of the common symptoms of colon cancer. If you observe this sign, it is crucial to visit the doctor immediately.
Risk factors of colon cancer
1. Lack of exercise
A lack of exercise, which leads to a sedentary lifestyle, could be a risk factor associated with the disease.
2. Inherited syndromes
One’s hereditary could be a reason for the development of the disease. Some gene mutations may have passed through the family and hence increase the risk of colon cancer in an individual.
3. Inadequate diet
A diet low on fiber and high on fat can be a leading risk factor for colon cancer.
4. Chronic inflammatory diseases
Chronic inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s disease can increase the chances of being diagnosed with this medical condition.