WHAT IS IT?
The colon is part of your large intestine, which is part of your digestive system. Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer or rectum cancer, is a disease in which cells in the colon or rectum grow out of control.
After conducting research about colon cancer on Aruba, it became evident that colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer on the island. In the last decade, the cases have increased drastically and we continuously see new cases of younger patients. It was discovered that the number of cases in relation to our local population is extremely high in comparison to many other countries.
DO I NEED TO GET TESTED?
Your risk of colon cancer increases with age
Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.
A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).
LIFESTYLE FACTORS THAT MAY CONTRIBUTE TO AN INCREASED RISK OF COLON CANCER:
Lack of regular physical activity.
A diet low in fruit and vegetables.
A low-fiber and high-fat diet, or a diet high in processed meats.
Overweight and obesity.
A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool.
Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool.
Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain.
A feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely.
Weakness or fatigue.
Unexplained weight loss.
WE RECOMMEND EVERYONE ABOVE THE AGE OF 45 TO GET TESTED EVEN IF THERE ARE NO NOTICEABLE SYMPTOMS.
THE 4 STAGES OF COLON CANCER.
The tumor has spread beyond the inner layer but remains within the rectum.
Cancer has grown outside the rectum but has not spread to the lymph nodes
Cancer has grown outside the rectum and has spread to the lymph nodes.
Cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
AN EARLY DETECTION CAN PREVENT THESE STAGES FROM PROGRESSING AND SAVE YOUR LIFE.
IF YOU ARE 45 YEARS OR OLDER, GET TESTING EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO NOTICABLE SYMPTOMS. IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS AT ANY AGE, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR TO EVALUATE IF YOU NEED TO GET TESTED.
You find out that you need to get tested, what are the next steps?
Take a bowel test to evaluate the situation in your colon.
If the bowel test indicates that you have something in your colon that could lead to colon cancer, you will need to do a colonoscopy to further examinate your colon.
If the doctor finds something that could potentially become a cancer, it can be quickly and easily eliminated. But if the colonoscopy does detect cancer, a surgeon would need to perform an operation to remove a part of your colon.
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