Colon Cancer begins as benign polyps in the colon, the large intestine, and the rectum. Colon cancer is very treatable when caught early, but if left unchecked can develop into one of the more serious colon cancer stages:
- Stage 0: Without easily recognizable symptoms, cancer develops in the inner layer of the intestine.
- Stage 1: The cancer spreads to other colon layers.
- Stage 2: The colon muscle wall is affected.
- Stage 3: Colon cancer spreads to the lymph nodes.
- Stage 4: Other organs are affected by cancer.
As colon cancer progresses, colon cancer treatment becomes far more severe and life-altering. For that reason itâ€™s important to get regular screening starting at age 50 (earlier if youâ€™re at high risk), and to take preventative steps against colon cancer.
Some of the risk-factors for colon cancer include things that canâ€™t be controlled, such as having a certain ethnicity (Eastern European or African), having a family history of colon cancer, or surviving another type of cancer.
Certain types of lifestyles, like eating a diet high in red meat and low in fiber, being sedentary and/or overweight, and smoking or drinking, can also increase you risk for colon cancer. Thankfully, if you are at risk for colon cancer, you can have some measure of control by changing these habits. If you only change one, diet is probably most important–fruits and vegetables add both fiber and antioxidants to your diet, keeping things moving through your gastrointestinal tract and preventing inflammation. If you have a disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, which increases your risk for colon cancer and affects nutrient absorption, supplement antioxidants (and other nutrients) into your diet.
If you have trouble keeping things moving through your G.I., and fiber isnâ€™t doing enough, try adding more natural flora to your diet (through sources like yogurt or probiotic supplements). If you just want to do an occasional natural colon cleanse to purge toxins, look for a product that uses antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal herbs to clear out yeasts and other undesirables.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer generally donâ€™t appear until later stages, and may resemble other disorders. See a doctor for preventative testing and diagnoses.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer:
- Pain or tenderness in the lower abdomen.
- Change in bowel movement type and frequency.
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Dark red blood in the stool
- Black Stools
- Narrow Stool
- Weight Loss
If colon cancer has progressed far enough for many of these symptoms to appear, you should consult a doctor immediately.