Colon cancer: All you need to know


The world mourns the lack of a superhero. Chadwick Boseman, the actor that brilliantly portrayed T’Challa (Black Panther), the King of Wakanda, handed away on the age of 43 after a 4-year battle with colon most cancers. This led to a renewed curiosity in colon most cancers (extra precisely referred to as colorectal most cancers) even within the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Physicians, well being organisations, most cancers survivors and advocates have used the chance to shine a light-weight on colorectal most cancers (CRC).

What’s colorectal most cancers?

It’s most cancers that originates from the colon or rectum. The colon is also called the massive bowel. The rectum is the bottom a part of the massive bowel and connects the colon to the anus.

CRC is the 2nd main explanation for most cancers demise on the planet in line with the World Well being Organisation.

In accordance with a examine revealed within the Journal of Most cancers Science & Remedy in 2019, CRC is the 2nd most typical most cancers amongst Nigerian males and the third most typical most cancers amongst Nigerian ladies.

In the USA, African People are twenty % extra more likely to have colorectal most cancers and are forty % extra more likely to die from colorectal most cancers.

On common, there are about 150,000 instances of CRC in the USA yearly and greater than 50,000 deaths per 12 months from the illness.

CRC is more and more being identified in youthful individuals. In 2020, about 18,000 (12%) of all colorectal most cancers instances within the U.S. might be identified in individuals underneath 50. The explanation for this rise in early-onset CRC shouldn’t be fully identified however environmental components like processed meals and weight problems are suspected.

What causes colorectal most cancers?

The reason for most colorectal cancers is unknown. It’s stated to be attributable to a mix of genetic and environmental components. Environmental components like smoking, extreme alcohol consumption, weight problems, meals like processed meat, crimson meat, processed grain like white bread, and sugary drinks. Individuals with household historical past of colorectal polyps or most cancers in addition to sure genetic illnesses usually tend to have CRC.

Can I inherit colorectal most cancers?

Some CRC are inherited. It must be suspected in an individual with CRC at a younger age, a number of totally different cancers, greater than ten precancerous colon polyps, a number of members of the family with CRC or a household with many various cancers throughout a number of generations.

About 3percent-5percent of all colorectal cancers are attributable to Lynch syndrome, an inheritable type of colorectal most cancers.

What are the indicators of colorectal most cancers?

CRC will be asymptomatic. This is the reason screening is vital. A few of the signs and indicators of CRC embrace rectal bleeding or blood within the stool, change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea), change in stool caliber, belly ache, unexplained weight reduction, fatigue, lack of urge for food, and iron deficiency anemia.

What are the levels of colorectal most cancers?

Colon most cancers stage ranges from stage zero wherein the most cancers is confined to the innermost layer (mucosa) of the colon to stage Four wherein most cancers has unfold to distant organs just like the liver or lungs.

How is colorectal most cancers handled?

Remedy is determined by the stage of the most cancers. Growths confined to the innermost layer of the colon will be eliminated throughout colonoscopy. Most require surgical procedure alone or surgical procedure together with chemotherapy and radiation.

Is colorectal most cancers preventable?

Colorectal most cancers is preventable. There are three easy methods to stop CRC.

Know your loved ones historical past

When and the way usually to display for CRC is determined by your loved ones historical past. African-People ought to begin at age 45 in line with the American Faculty of Gastroenterology. An individual with one first diploma relative with a historical past of CRC or adenomatous polyps earlier than the age of 60 or two or extra first-degree family members at any age ought to begin screening at age 40 or 10 years sooner than the age of the affected relative. Individuals with a first-degree relative with a historical past of CRC or polyp at age 60 or older or two second-degree family members with CRC ought to begin screening at age 40. An individual with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) ought to begin screening at age 10-12. Individuals with Lynch syndrome ought to begin screening at age 20-25 or 10 years youthful than the youngest affected instant relative.

Get screened

There are a number of choices for screening for colorectal most cancers. These embrace guaiac-based fecal occult blood take a look at (gFOBT), fecal immunochemical take a look at (FIT), FIT-DNA take a look at (Cologuard®) versatile sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography (digital colonoscopy), and colonoscopy.

Colonoscopy is the gold commonplace as a result of it permits the removing of precancerous polyp anyplace within the colon earlier than it grows into most cancers.

Undertake a wholesome life-style

Don’t smoke tobacco. Drink alcohol sparsely. Keep away from extreme consumption of processed meat, crimson meat, white bread, and sugary drinks. Eat extra fruit and veggies. Fiber is sweet in your colon well being. Entire grains like oatmeal, brown rice, barley, millet and complete wheat bread are excessive in fiber. Train often and hold the burden off.

The perfect technique towards CRC is prevention via wholesome life-style and screening. Subsequent is early detection and therapy when signs are current. Colorectal most cancers is preventable and treatable.

In a resource-limited nation like Nigeria and in a world ravaged by COVID-19 and financial disaster, colorectal most cancers takes on a brand new face with new challenges. Low-cost excessive worth strategy is required. Don’t abandon indigenous Nigerian meals wealthy in fiber and vitamins for extremely processed western diets. If there isn’t a fitness center, stroll. Speak to members of the family about any historical past of most cancers. If colonoscopy shouldn’t be obtainable or accessible, get a stool take a look at. Examine your stool for blood. If you’re in poor health, search medical consideration from a professional well being skilled.

Ajumobi, MD, MBA, FACP, FACG is a board-certified gastroenterologist. He’s on school on the College of California, Riverside and Eisenhower Well being, California. He has obtained the American Faculty of Gastroenterology Service Award for Colorectal Most cancers Outreach, Prevention & 12 months-Spherical Excellence (SCOPY) a number of occasions. He’s the Founder and Editor of and will be reached @ajumobiMD.


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