What are the early warning signs of bowel cancer?

What are the early warning signs of bowel cancer?

 Bowel cancer is a type of tumor that develops in the intestine, being more common in a portion of the large intestine, from the evolution of polyps, which are changes that can arise in the intestinal wall and that, if not removed, can turn into malignant lesions.

 The main symptoms of bowel cancer, also known as colon cancer and cancer of the rectum, are frequent diarrhea, blood in the stool and belly pain.  However, these symptoms can be difficult to identify as they can also occur due to common problems such as intestinal infection, hemorrhoids, anal fissure, and food poisoning.

 In addition, signs and symptoms may vary according to the location of the tumor and severity of the disease, and for this reason, it is recommended to go to the gastroenterologist or general practitioner when symptoms persist for more than 1 month for diagnosis and initiation. the most appropriate treatment.

 Bowel cancer symptoms

 Symptoms of bowel cancer usually appear as the disease develops, the main ones being:

 Blood in the stool;

 Abdominal pain;

 Diarrhea or constipation;

 Heaviness or pain in the anal area;

 Frequent tiredness;

 Weight loss for no apparent reason.

 Bowel cancer symptoms are more frequent in people who have a family history of bowel cancer or who have chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, for example.

 Thus, it is important to consult the doctor when symptoms last for more than 1 month, there is a family history of cancer and/or the person has some risk factor, such as inadequate diet or alcoholism, for example, so that the diagnosis can be made and initiated. treatment right away.

 symptom test

 To know your risk of having bowel cancer, select your symptoms in the following test:

 1. Constant diarrhea or constipation?

 Yes No

 2. Dark colored or bloody stools?

 Yes No

 3.Gas and abdominal cramps?

 Yes No

 4.Blood in the anus or visible on toilet paper when wiping?

 Yes No

 5. Feeling of heaviness or pain in the anal area, even after having a bowel movement?

 Yes No

 6.Frequent fatigue?

 Yes No

 7.Blood analysis with the presence of anemia?

 Yes No

 8. Weight loss for no apparent reason?

 Yes No

 Possible causes

 The exact cause of bowel cancer is still not very clear, however, some situations can increase the risk of developing this type of cancer, the main ones being:

 Age, being more frequent in people over 50 years old;

 Family history of bowel cancer and adenomatous polyps;

 Inflammatory bowel disease, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease;

 Diet rich in fat, red meat, processed foods and low in fiber.

 In addition, the risk is greater in people who are overweight, do not practice physical activity regularly and have habits such as alcoholism or smoking.

 How the diagnosis is made

 To verify that the symptoms presented by the person are of bowel cancer, the doctor recommends carrying out some diagnostic tests, the main ones being:

 Stool examination: helps to identify the presence of occult blood or bacteria responsible for altering intestinal transit;

 Colonoscopy with biopsy: it is used to evaluate the bowel walls when there are symptoms or the presence of occult blood in the stool;

 Computed tomography: it is used when it is not possible to perform a colonoscopy, as in the case of coagulation changes or respiratory difficulty, for example;

 Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) dosage: although it is not specific for bowel cancer, when performed together with other laboratory and imaging tests, it can help to confirm the diagnosis.

 Before performing these tests, the doctor may also order some dietary and lifestyle changes to confirm that the symptoms are not being caused by less serious conditions such as food intolerances or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. 

 Bowel cancer treatment

 Treatment for bowel cancer should be indicated by the gastroenterologist according to the characteristics of the tumor, stage of the disease and age of the person.  In general, the doctor recommends performing surgery to remove the portion of the intestine affected by cancer and a nearby part that is healthy, and chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy sessions may be indicated after surgery.

 In some cases, before surgery, the doctor may recommend radiation or chemotherapy sessions to slow the growth of the tumor and reduce its size so that surgical removal can be effective.  

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