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Unfortunately, most of the time we give little thought to the idea that we may be setting ourselves up for colon cancer. All the time, we do just what we shouldn’t - we don't drink enough water, or eat the right food.

As a consequence, our colons are filling up with excess waste and rotting fecal matter, one of the most important risk factors for developing colon cancer. Most people don't think about colon cancer until they either get it or someone they love does. Remember – we can prevent it!

Can colon cancer really be prevented?

Approximately 70 percent of diagnosed colon cancers could have been prevented with only moderate changes in diet and lifestyle. There are theories suggested by some experts that insulin resistance can contribute to the development of the colon cancer.

This condition is characterized by a circulation of higher levels of insulin, because the body is less responsive to it. Insulin seems to change cell processes in ways that promote the development of cancer. This condition is most common in overweight people; obviously, a proper diet is essential for colon cancer prevention.

Symptoms of colon cancer

A patient is often be asymptomatic, which is why it is often hard to tell if colon cancer is present or not. This is one reason why most experts recommend periodic screenings. This type of testing includes fecal occult blood testing and colonoscopy. Even when symptoms do occur, they depend on the site of the lesion.

Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Tarry stools (a condition called melena)
  • Reduction in diameter of feces
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Change in frequency (constipation and/or diarrhea),
  • Change in the quality of stools
  • Change in consistency of stools
  • Bloody stools or rectal bleeding
  • Feeling of incomplete defecation (Tenesmus)
  • Stools with mucus
  • Bowel obstruction

Risk factors

Risk factors for colon cancer are as follows:

Age: Older people, specifically over the age of 50, are more likely to get colon cancer. Of course, it can also occur in younger people, though this happens less often.

Diet: Studies have shown that a diet high in fat and calories and low in fiber can contribute to colon cancer. Appropriate diet is the key to colon cancer prevention.

Polyps: A colon polyp is a benign growth on the wall of the colon or rectum. Although, not all polyps can turn into cancer, certain types can increase the risk of colon cancer.

Family history: Colon cancer is of a hereditary nature. A person whose parent or child has had colon cancer is at an increased risk.

Ulcerative colitis and IBD: People with longstanding ulcerative colitis or IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) are at increased risk of developing colon cancer. 

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