< p>Often, colon cancer starts as a small cluster of cells known as “colon polyps.” While benign at first, some of these polyps may become cancerous over time. Doctors routinely perform a colonoscopy to check for polyps once a patient is over 50 and they may advocate the removal of polyps, if found. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent polyps from turning cancerous, doctors say that early colonoscopy screening and a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to beat this deadly cancer.
There are many vital risk factors for cancer of the colon that makes someone a excellent candidate for screening. Age is one factor, as about 90% of people diagnosed with this cancer are over 50. People are also more at-risk if they have ever had colorectal , polyps, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s diseaseacromegaly (a growth hormone disorder) or radiation therapy as part of another . Some studies have shown that a greater risk exists for people who eat diets low in fiber and high in stout /calories, or diets high in red meat/processed meats. Obese individuals and smokers have an increased chance of developing and dying from this type of cancer too. As with most health conditions, genetics also play a role in many cases.
The cause of colon cancer is the uncontrolled growth, division and replication of altered cells, which stack up in the intestinal lining. In later stages, the cancer can penetrate the colon walls, spreading to lymph nodes and other organs. Precancerous growths, called colon polyps, appear as mushroom-shaped bumps or recessed lesions in the colon walls. There are three main types of colon polyps: inflammatory, adenoma and hyperplastic. Inflammatory polyps often come after having ulcerative colitis and are usually removed because they often become cancerous if left unattended. Adenomas are also removed to avoid cancer development. By contrast, hyperplastic polyps are rarely a cause for concern.
The American Cancer Society has issued some guidelines to prevent colon cancer. Once a person reaches 50, they should receive an annual fecal occult blood test, stool DNA testing, a flexible sigmoidoscopy and a double-contrast barium enema every five years, a colonoscopy every ten years and a virtual colonoscopy screening every five years. Additionally, certain lifestyle precautions are wise. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains; limit stout, specially saturated stout and red meat stout; take vitamins and minerals, especially B-6, calcium, folic acid and magnesium; limit alcohol consumption to no more than a drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men; quit smoking ; get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days; and take an aspirin a day.