One of the most common types of cancers worldwide is colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths, surpassing breast cancer and prostate cancer, and is a cancer that it tends to affect men and women with almost equal frequency. In fact, most individuals face a 5% risk of developing colorectal cancer in their lifetime. The only cancer that causes more deaths is lung cancer.
Colorectal cancer may be common, but most people don’t know much about it. In fact, many individuals know nothing about colorectal cancer until they are diagnosed with the disease. It’s important to be informed about colorectal cancer, so you know what to look for so your doctor can test for colorectal cancer in Singapore and get treatment. The sooner you’re diagnosed and treated, the better your prognosis will be.
To learn more about colorectal cancer, read more below.
What Is It?
Colorectal cancer is a cancer of the colon and rectum. Usually, it is caused by a genetic mutation, however, there are other factors that may increase your risk. Also, be sure to keep in mind that if you have a family member with a history colorectal cancer, you have a 10-15% chance of developing the disease.
What Are the Symptoms?
Unfortunately, there are commonly no symptoms in the early stages of colorectal cancer. This is because the cancer tends to be very small. Is only once the tumour has grown into the surrounding tissues and organs that symptoms tend to show.
Here are some common symptoms of colorectal cancer:
- Frequent diarrhea
- Narrow stool
- Blood in stool (can be dark or bright red)
- Pain and discomfort in the rectum
- Cramping and bloating
- Weight loss
- Weakness and fatigue
- Bowel obstruction
- UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections)
- Enlarged liver
- Swollen lymph nodes
There is no single cause behind colorectal cancer, however, there are risk factors that may increase your risk of colorectal cancer in your lifetime.
Here are a few common risk factors:
- Family history – If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you should get tested 10 years before your family member’s diagnosis, and regularly after that. Your chances are 5-10 percent higher than they would be with an individual who does not have a family history of colorectal cancer.
- Individuals who have polyps
- Individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases (Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease)
- Individuals 50 years and older
Is there any way to prevent colorectal cancer? The answer is yes! You can do a lot to help lower your risk and prevent colorectal cancer. In particular, polyp-related colorectal cancer can be prevented. If polyps are detected and removed before they can grow into cancer, you can stop colorectal cancer in its tracks, though this requires dedication and vigilance.
Here are a few things you can do to help lower your risk of having colorectal cancer in your lifetime:
- Stick to a low-fat diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption
- Get regular checks from your physician – It’s important to get tested, so learn more about early screening.