Like many other cancers, the unfortunate reality of colon cancer symptoms is that there usually are none until you’re dead. This #3 killer preys on both men and women equally, causing more than 49,000 deaths each year. Many people are embarrassed to request a screening or admit to colon cancer symptoms, but this type of cancer is highly curable if detected in the earliest stages. In reality, the tests are unpleasant but pale in comparison to the pain of cancer. Do not wait for the symptoms to deliver you a death sentence; get screened, exercise, eat healthy and enjoy your long, happy life.

According to the American Cancer Society, the leading causes of colon cancer include colon polyps, cancer elsewhere in the body, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, a history of breast cancer or a family history of colon cancer. Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Center and John Hopkins Medical Center have identified a genetic link for colon cancer, which is a defect in glycosylation enzymes. Other contributing factors include a poor diet (high-fat, low-fiber, red meat-filled diets) and smoking cigarettes. Also, 90% of those who have colon cancer are over 50, which is when screening should begin.

The most common treatment of colon cancer symptoms is the removal of polyps with a colonoscope for Stage 0. Stages I, II and III may involve laparoscopic surgery or more extensive surgery to remove cancerous parts of the colon and reattach the healthy portions. Stage III and IV include chemotherapy to kill the mobile colon cancer cell lymph nodes and radiation therapy to destroy cancerous tissue. Advanced cancer treatments may even include cryotherapy/freezing the cancer cells or ablation/burning the cancer cells.

The prognosis for treatment of colon cancer symptoms is really good if caught early. The five-year survival rate for patients in Stage I is 93%. Other survival rates are as follows; 70% for Stage II, 56% for Stage III and 7% for Stage IV. As one can see, the results vary drastically, depending on how early colon cancer symptoms are spotted. Once the cancer has metastasized and spread throughout the body to other organs, like the liver, lungs, bladder, uterus and prostate, it can be very hard to eradicate. Regular screenings should begin at age 50 to ensure the best colon cancer treatment and the brightest prognosis.

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