Everything you need to know about colon cancer


Colon cancer is steadily becoming, if not already, one of the more dangerous threats to the health of Filipinos with over 8,000 cases diagnosed yearly according to Philippine Cancer Society, as stated in an article by the Department of Health (DOH).

Colon cancer recently gained traction in popular consciousness when former president and national icon Cory Aquino succumbed to it early morning of August 1, 2009.

As with any disease, lifestyle plays a large role in cancer development.  Despite Filipino knowledge about diet, studies show a sizeable gap between knowledge and practice.

For starters, the colon is composed of the large intestine, rectum, and the anus, and is located at the terminal part of our gastrointestinal tract, extending from the mouth to the anus. Together with the lungs, skin, and kidneys, the colon has the principal task of eliminating the toxins in the body. To ensure it functions properly, we are then required to take care of it, as with everything else in our body.

These are just some of the important things that you need to know about this threatening kind of cancer.

  • Colon cancer is the cancer of the large intestine. Whereas rectal cancer occurs in the last several inches of the colon, collectively they’re called colorectal cancers.
  • Recent statistics show that colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, with over 1.2 to 1.4 million diagnosed every year and is the fourth leading cause of cancer related deaths. Locally, more than 8,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed yearly, according to the Philippine Cancer Society.
  • Despite the numbers, colorectal cancer is also one of the most treatable cancers if detected early. According to Mayoclinic, colorectal cancer screening can find precancerous or adenomatous polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum), which can be removed before these develop into cancer. Bleeding of the rectum or blood in the stool is one of the primary symptoms of colorectal cancer.
  • It can be inherited. According to a study by Henry Lynch and Albert de la Chapelle, about 20% of all colorectal cancer patients have a close relative who was diagnosed with the disease.
  • A diet that is high in red meats (such as beef, pork, lamb, or liver) and processed meats (hot dogs and some luncheon meats) can increase colorectal cancer risk, says org. In addition, 9 out of 10 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are at least 50 years old. Once you reach this age, annual check-up is prescribed partnered with fiber-optic colonoscopy every three to five years.

Does colon cancer run in your family? If it does, have you done any adjustments to prevent the disease? If it doesn’t, are you making every effort to eat healthy? What are your thoughts about this disease? Share them with us in the comments section below.

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