According to information from the World Health Organization (WHO), colon cancer, or colorectal cancer, affects between 10 and 15% of the world’s population, placing it just below lung cancer in terms of common incidence.
One important fact to keep in mind is that lung cancer and colon cancer rates are higher in women. Certain types of diseases, however, do not respond solely to one gender.
Today, we’d like to explain some of this information, which you will no doubt find to be useful.
Colon cancer in women
Colon cancer affects a large portion of people over the age of 50. 10% of these cases, however, can appear in people much younger.
In fact, there are cases in which people as young as 20 have been affected by colon cancer.
Until just recently, this cancer was more common in men, but a few years ago doctors began to warn of an increase in number of women affected by colon cancer.
Even though we don’t know exactly what causes it, some factors like smoking, or certain lifestyles can lead to a greater incidence of this disease.
We need to point out, however, that we currently do not know what exactly causes this disease. Dozens of very young people with healthy lifestyles have also been affected.
Below, we are going to present a series of facts that are helpful to know and to keep in mind.
What is colon cancer?
Colon cancer originates in the colon or rectum. It almost always starts the same way: an abnormal growth in the lining of the colon that is shaped like a small polyps.
Patients could live with these small polyps for several years without experiencing too many symptoms, but after some time one runs the risk of this mutating into cancer cells. The primary symptom for this is blood in the feces.
There are two types of polyps that most commonly appear:
- Adenomatous polyps (end up mutating into cancer)
- Inflammatory and hyperplastic polyps: these are the most common, and they generally do not mutate into cancer cells.
Symptoms of colon cancer if you are a woman
Men and women experience the same symptoms of colon cancer. The only difference is that women might not pay attention to these symptoms, perhaps confusing them with other things caused by these situations:
- Periods of constipation and diarrhea: keep in mind that this type of condition is more common in women, and women therefore take longer to see the doctor about it.
- Fatigue, low energy: also a very characteristic symptom in women.
- Abdominal swelling, feeling of heaviness, slow digestion…
- Colon cancer is generally recognized with the sudden appearance of blood in the feces. If you also notice that your feces is very thin, this is also a characteristic that should convince your doctor.
- Keep in mind that blood in the feces isn’t always noticeable with the naked eye. You could also be suffering from anemia. What you first may associate with other causes, could actually be a more severe, disguised disease.
We should also point out that a lot of these symptoms could also be related to other causes, like colitis, dietary allergies, ulcers, gallbladder problems… Just go to the doctor to rule out any doubts.
The key is in early detection
Colon cancer affects men and women in the same way. That’s why medical institutions have had to establish protocols for early detection.
So, just like getting your gynecological check-up, it’s also a good idea to request a simple colorectal test in the following situations:
- If you are over the age of 50.
- As soon as you notice blood in your feces and persistent abdominal pain.
- If you have a family history of colon cancer.
The tests will be a simple exploration to detect blood in the feces, along with a colonoscopy. This last one is slightly “uncomfortable,” but it is absolutely vital.
According to doctor Antonio Linares, a Digestion Specialist at the Covodonga Healing Institute (Spain), with early detection, 90% of patients can be cured.
And that’s for a very simple reason:
Before becoming a malignant tumor, first the polyp develops. In its first stages, this lesion is always benign. If not eliminated, it will end up becoming malign.
So with enough preventive exams, we can drastically reduce colon cancer levels with techniques and follow-ups.