Listen to your gut to prevent colon cancer
More than 90 percent of colon cancer, which is one of the most common cancer types both in our country and in the world, develops from polyps. According to studies, a person’s lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about 5.5 percent. which has become quite common in Turkey and especially in Western countries. Colon cancer Stating that the biggest threat to society is that the society does not have enough information about the subject, General Surgery Specialist Prof. Dr. Fatih Ağalar talked about colon cancer prevention and screening methods and the importance of nutrition.
Genetic predisposition is very important.
Genetic factors are more effective in the emergence of colon cancer than other cancers. About 90 percent of them start due to polyps (benign tumors) in the large intestine. Although there are differences in the diseases that cause genetic predisposition, in general, these families should be followed up frequently.
What is colon cancer? Causes, symptoms and treatment methods
In some familial colon and rectal cancer syndromes, the rate of occurrence of the disease is so high that the prophylactic removal of the large intestine is required in these family members, when and as recommended by the guidelines. Among the correctable risk factors for the prevention of colon cancer, factors such as being overweight, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, protein-rich diets, and a sedentary lifestyle can be counted. When these risk factors are corrected, the risk of developing colon cancer will decrease.
Don’t neglect colon cancer screening tests
The easiest method in colon cancer screening; “hidden blood test” to detect blood in stools that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. However, this method may not catch every polyp or cancer. Therefore, it should be used in conjunction with other more reliable tests. Sigmoidoscopy, which is a more advanced method, means examining the last 60 cm of the intestine from the rectum with an optical device. In more risky individuals, colonoscopy, in which the entire large intestine is examined, is used.
What is a colonoscopy?
colonoscopy; It is a method that provides great benefits in revealing lesions and pathologies in the large intestine and is considered the “gold standard”. It is recommended that individuals at normal risk have a stool occult blood test annually from the age of 40, and a sigmoidoscopy every five years for those between the ages of 50 and 70. Cleaning the polyps with a high risk of developing into cancer and monitoring at appropriate intervals are important in the prevention of colon cancer.
Today, about 50% of people over the age of 60 have polyps, and this rate increases with age. If a person in the risk group has one or a few small polyps in the screening colonoscopy, if the colonoscopy was done properly and the polyps were completely removed, the risk of this patient is the same level as the average risk in the population, approximately 5.5%.
Cancer development can be prevented
He reports that if familial risk factors for colon cancer and risk factors that can be corrected or monitored personally are known, and appropriate controls are made for these, cancer development can be largely prevented or cancers can be caught and treated more easily at an early stage. In those with a family history of genetic predisposition, such as colon cancer or other cancers that may be genetically related to colon cancer, those with cancer such as breast, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid cancer, colonoscopic screening may be recommended earlier and controls more frequently.
Screening required after age 50
The incidence of polyps increases with age. Colon cancer screening is started after the age of 50 in healthy individuals who do not have any risk in the community. In an individual with such an average risk, a screening colonoscopy performed after the age of 50 can protect the person for about 8-10 years if “if it gives a completely normal result”.
However; The frequency of colonoscopic screening varies in those with risk factors or the presence of polyps in their previous colonoscopy, those with a family history of colon cancer, especially those with adenomatous polyps in their first-degree relatives.
There is no need to rush for a second screening colonoscopy in risk-free individuals whose polyps are not detected in screening colonoscopy. The time required for the second screening colonoscopy in those with familial risk or polyps detected during colonoscopy is determined according to the type, size and number of the polyp, and the structure within the polyp.
Is colon cancer dangerous?
Colon cancer, for which early diagnosis is very important, is a type of cancer that does not show any symptoms and progresses slowly. This cancer, which is especially seen in people aged 50 and over, can be treated with early detection. Colon cancer is among the 2nd or 3rd most common cancers in the world.
What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
- rectal bleeding
- blood in stool
- Abdominal thinning
- Changing the ablution order
- Inability to go to the toilet and relax
- Abdominal pain lasting longer than 15 days