(Cancer of the Colon)
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- Age: 50 or older
- Diets high in fat, low in fiber
- History of polyps , which are non-cancerous growths in the colon and rectum
- Hereditary conditions such as familial polyposis or Lynch syndrome
- Personal history of colorectal cancer
- Family history of colon or rectal cancer, especially a parent, sibling, or child
- History of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Other risk factors include:
- A change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely—Lasting for more than a few days in people aged 50 and older
- Bright red or very dark blood in the stool
- Stools that are narrower than usual
- Abdominal discomfort, such as frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, and/or cramps
- Unexplained weight loss
- Feeling tired frequently
- Your rectum may need to be checked for lumps or growths. This can be done with a digital rectal exam.
- Your waste products may need to be checked. This can be done with a fecal occult blood test.
- Your rectum and colon may need to be examined. This can be done with:
- You may need to have pictures taken of your bodily structures. This may include:
- You may need to have your bodily fluid tested to check for anemia and markers of cancer in the blood. This can be done with blood tests.
- You may need to have tissue samples or polyps removed. This can be done with:
- You may need to have additional pictures taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
- Laparoscopy—Removal of early-stage cancer.
- Open surgery—To remove tumors, colon tissue, and sometimes nearby lymph nodes. The surgeon will also look for additional cancer in the colon during the surgery.
- Yearly fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
- X-rays of the colon and rectum with double-contrast barium enema every five years
- CT colonography every five years
- Strong family history of colon or rectal cancer or polyps
- Known family history of hereditary colon or rectal cancer syndromes
- Personal history of colon and rectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
- Personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease
- Not smoking
- Being physically active, including, exercising at least 30 minutes on most days of the week
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a high-fiber diet containing fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes
- Making other changes to your diet, like eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, not eating a lot of red meat, and not abusing alcohol
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada http://www.colorectal-cancer.ca
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Colon and rectal cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/colon-and-rectal. Accessed February 8, 2013.
Colorectal cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated February 7, 2013. Accessed February 8, 2013.
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