Colon cancer causes and diagnosis

Posted by Aranganathan Selvaraj on Sun, Mar 6, 2011  
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Colon cancer – Causes

  • Dietary factors appear to play a role in colon cancer development. High-fat and low-fiber diet are known to increase the incidence of colon cancer.
  • Age above 50
  • Family history of colon cancer.
  • Personal history of cancer of the colon, rectum, ovary, breast or endometrium.
  • History of polyps in the colon.
  • History of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.


Colon cancer - Signs & symptoms

One of the earliest symptoms may be bleeding


  • Change in bowel habits. This includes changes such as constipation and diarrhea.
  • Narrow stools. The stool becomes narrow or even pencil-thin in caliber.
  • Visible blood in the stool.
  • Anemia due to blood loss. The patient becomes anemic, feels tired and sluggish.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Weight loss


Colon cancer – diagnosis

  • Fecal occult blood test: This test detects occult (hidden) blood. This should be performed every 1-2 years in people between the age of 50 and 80 years.
  • Sigmoidoscopy: This is a thin flexible tube with a light which allows to examine the inside of the colon for polyps, tumours and other abnormalities. While there is not enough data to determine, exactly what the interval should be the American Cancer Society recommends every 3-5 years starting at age 50.
  • Barium enema: Liquid containing barium is put into the rectum via the anus. This is be effective in detecting large polyps and cancers. Recommended interval is every 3-5 years.
  • Colonoscopy: This is similar to a sigmoidoscopy, except that the entire colon is examined. This procedure is the most effective method of examining the colon. It is generally recommended to be performed every 10 years.


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