Causes of Colon Cancer
Because colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States it is important to understand what causes it. By understanding the causes, you can take steps to lower your risk. The following will go through the different risk factors so you can educate and empower yourself on how to prevent the development of this disease. It is also important to work with your doctor who can help you make changes that will lower your risk.
Causes of Colon Cancer from Genetic Factors
Colon cancer affects men and women equally and is most commonly diagnosed in individuals over the age of 50. Many causal factors are related to lifestyle but genetics can play a role in creating contributing factors. A mutation in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene which can be passed on from parents to offspring can increase the risk of developing colon cancer. Individuals with this gene often start to develop colon polyps in their late teens.
Causes of Colon Cancer from Lifestyle Factors
If your diet is high in fat but low in fiber, fruits and vegetables, your risk of developing colon cancer may be increased. Fiber allows food to move through your digestive system more quickly so toxins do not remain in the body long. Smoking and regular consumption of alcohol and red meats can also increase your risk of colon cancer. Toxins in all three bind to DNA in the cells, leading to mutations during cell division. These mutations accumulate over time and can begin the process of carcinogenesis by allowing damaged cells to survive and bypass the body’s natural mechanisms for cell repair or elimination. Being overweight or obese and not exercising may increase your risk of developing colon cancer. Fat promotes inflammation, a constant cycle of damage and repair, which increases the risk of a damaged cell escaping the cell cycle and replicating.
What Are Early Symptoms Caused by Colon Cancer?
Early stage colon cancer may not produce any symptoms and may not be specific. Larger lesions may be associated with symptoms including pain and feeling bloated, like you have gas. Your bowel movements may change in consistency and you may have diarrhea or constipation. You may not feel like you have completely emptied your bowels. Bleeding from the rectum or bloody stool is a sign that you may have colon cancer. Feel weak and tired or losing weight for no apparent reason are may be signs of anemia or blood loss that can occur in early stage colon cancer.
If you think you are at risk of colon cancer, you should make an appointment with a physician. Our Los Angeles colorectal specialists have years of expertise through helping people experiencing symptoms of colon cancer and working with those at an increased risk. Intervention will help you to develop healthy lifestyle habits that will reduce your risk of the disease, and regular screenings will catch any problems in the very early stages. An early diagnosis and proper treatment increase the odds that you will beat the disease and prevent life-threatening complications.
For more than half a century, our practice has remained focused on accurate diagnostic procedures and modern, compassionate surgical treatment. Take control of your health by calling and making an appointment with us today.