Diagnosing Symptoms of Colon Cancer

The symptoms of colon cancer are not always easy to link to the disease, but some knowledge about them can help patients identify which symptoms should be brought to the attention of cancer specialists. Since the colon is part of the digestive system, when a cancer hits it, the earliest symptoms will affect a person’s digestive process. Unfortunately, since stomach upsets can be common and may not alert a person of an underlying disease, colon cancer is not easy to identify. This is why many cancer specialists recommend that people should get regular screening especially once they hit the age of 50 when the risk for colon cancer significantly increases.

Local Symptoms of Colon Cancer

When the symptoms start manifesting, they often come from either of two varieties: local and systemic. Local symptoms are those that affect the colon itself, which means they also affect the patient’s bathroom habits. These include abnormal changes in bowel movement, constipation, diarrhea, or both in an intermittent/alternating schedule, and bloody or black stools. Some patients also experience ‘pencil stools’ or stools that are very thin and does not seem to completely empty the body of waste. These may also be accompanied by abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas pains, and cramps. If a patient experiences these symptoms and they do not go away for one week, two weeks, or longer, he should approach a hospital and arrange for tests.

Systemic Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Systemic symptoms, on the other hand, are those that affect not just the digestive system but the entire body. These include rapid weight loss without any effort to reduce weight, loss of appetite, unexplained fatigue, anemia, jaundice, nausea, and vomiting. If these manifest in a patient, even for just a few days, he should call a doctor immediately for testing. (more…)

Reduce Risk Of Colon Cancer With Fish

Good news for fish lovers. A systemic review and meta-analysis conducted on 41 studies finds that those who eat lots of fish might reduce risk of colon cancer and rectal cancer.

The analysis is one of many reports to suggest eating fish is very good for your health. The work focused on fresh fish, though the study authors can’t say what varieties of fish were eaten, or how they were prepared.

Doctors know that cooking temperatures may well have an impact on colorectal cancer. This comes from recent studies that have found eating meat and fish that’s BBQ’d or grilled over a high heat appears to bring an increased risk of cancer.

Researchers in China examined 41 studies on fish intake from places like the U.S., Norway, Japan and Finland and others that were published between 1990 to 2011. The findings show that consumption of fish is inversely (intake goes up, the disease risk goes down) associated with colorectal cancers.

Frequently eating fish was linked to a 12% reduced risk of having (or dying from) cancers of the colon or rectum according to the researchers. The effect of eating fish was strongest for the rectal cancers – those who consumed the greatest volumes of fish showed a 21% lower risk of rectal cancer compared to those who consumed the least amount. For colon cancers the reduction in risk was just a few percentage points, meaning it may have been down to chance.

This finding held even after accounting for family history of these cancers, age, alcohol intake and red meat consumption as well as other known risk factors. (more…)

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