Could you be missing the silent signs of this cancer?
When it comes to colonoscopies, many people fear the preparation more than the procedure itself. A more alarming concern than having a colonoscopy is the possibility the silent signs of colorectal cancer could be mistaken for other illnesses.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths for men and women in the United States. Because of this, it is vital that you know the silent signs of colon cancer and what you can do to have a healthy colon.
“There is not one specific symptom that differentiates colon cancer from other gastrointestinal issues,” says Dr. Jared Emolo, a colorectal surgeon at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “However, signs to look out for would be blood in your stool, changes in the size or caliber of your stool, worsening constipation or diarrhea. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention.”
Eating the right foods is also an important part of colon health. Dr. Emolo advises lowering your consumption of red meat and processed foods because they increase your risk of colon cancer. Eating a well-balanced diet that is high in fiber, based on lean meats, fish, fruit and vegetables with limited processed foods is a great start.
Although most colorectal cancers are sporadic, Dr. Emolo advises that you may be at higher risk if you have a family history of colorectal cancer. If a family member is diagnosed with colon cancer at an early age, let your primary care physician know so they can screen you for possible genetic syndromes which increase your risk of colon or other cancers.
Colorectal cancer is more common the older you are, which is why screening for colon cancer starts at age 45 for most people. Although colonoscopies might be a scary thought, regular screenings and knowing the silent signs could help decrease your risk.
Learn your risk for colorectal cancer by taking our colorectal health assessment. Learn more information about colorectal cancer screenings in Illinois or Wisconsin.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.