Home » Colon cancer doctor: “If you have two symptoms, you should have a colonoscopy immediately”

Colon cancer doctor: “If you have two symptoms, you should have a colonoscopy immediately”

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Colon cancer doctor: “If you have two symptoms, you should have a colonoscopy immediately”

In Germany, 33,000 men and 28,000 women develop colon cancer every year. This makes colon cancer the third most common cancer in both sexes.

As with most types of cancer, the risk of developing the disease increases with age: from the age of 50 onwards, colon cancer occurs more frequently. Recently, however, a study caused a stir that more and more young people are developing cancer. Along with breast cancer and bronchial and lung cancer, colon cancer is one of the most common early-onset cancers.

“If you have two of these symptoms, you should really have a colonoscopy done.”

The good news: If colon cancer is detected early, it is often curable. Some experts therefore appeal for possible cancer screening examinations before the age of 50.

One of them is James Cleary, a gastroenterologist and oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He tells “Business Insider” the following five symptoms of colon cancer:

unwanted weight loss: Considered a symptom of several types of cancer, including colon cancer. According to Cleary, this typically involves a significant weight loss of five to ten kilos in six months to a year. He speaks of a “high-risk trait”. Those affected should definitely see a doctor, especially if an additional symptom occurs, such as rectal bleeding.
persistent fatigue: If you constantly feel very tired, this could also be a sign. The background is blood loss through rectal bleeding, which in turn leads to a lack of healthy red blood cells.
Changes in bowel movements: These include more frequent trips to the toilet, pencil-thin stools, diarrhea, constipation and blood in or on the stool.
Iron deficiency anemia (= low iron levels): The aforementioned blood loss can lead to iron deficiency. Signs of iron deficiency include fatigue, lack of energy, shortness of breath and headaches.
Stomach pain: Repeated, cramping abdominal pain that lasts for more than a week may also be a sign.

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Cleary emphasizes, “If you only notice one of these symptoms, you should consider a colonoscopy. But if you have two of these symptoms, statistically, the odds are higher, and you should really have a colonoscopy carried out.” This also applies to younger people.

Colonoscopy and Stool sample: These colon cancer screening tests are available

There are two possible screening tests for colon cancer. Experts consider both to be useful, writes the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Specifically, these are:

Colonoscopy (colonoscopy): For men aged 50 and over and women aged 55 and over, a colonoscopy is offered as part of the statutory cancer screening program. It is more reliable than the stool test. Doctors examine the inside of the intestine with an endoscope. Intestinal polyps (= possible precancerous lesions) can also be removed immediately.
Stool test (test for non-visible blood in the stool): An immunological test for hidden blood in the stool can be carried out annually from the age of 50 and every two years from the age of 55. The background is that intestinal tumors bleed more often than healthy intestinal mucosa. If the stool test is abnormal, a colonoscopy is usually recommended.

People with a genetic predisposition, a family history or other risk factors such as inflammatory bowel disease are considered to be particularly at risk. Talk to your doctor about possible earlier check-ups.

Preventing colon cancer risk factors: This is how you can protect yourself

In addition to genetic factors and environmental stress, lifestyle also plays a role in the development of colon cancer – even at a young age, write the researchers in the study mentioned at the beginning. “Dietary risk factors such as red meat, a lot of salt, little fruit, vegetables and milk, but also alcohol consumption and smoking are the main factors behind early onset cancer cases.” There are also clear connections with obesity and increased blood sugar levels.

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According to the team, at least some of these cancer cases could be delayed, if not prevented, by adopting a healthier lifestyle.

If Prevention tips The DKFZ also recommends accordingly:

no smoking, regular exercise (regardless of overweight), avoidance of overweight, diet with sufficient fiber, lots of vegetables and little red meat, little or, if possible, no alcohol from the age of 50. Early detection examinations

In order to break the trend, more information and better early detection are also important. Cancer therapies would also have to be adapted for younger patients.

Two thirds of colon cancer patients are still alive five years after diagnosis

Depending on the tumor and the patient’s state of health, treatment can include removing the affected section of intestine or using radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

Five years after diagnosis, two thirds of men and women are still alive. A positive development that experts attribute, among other things, to early cancer detection and treatment.

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