Cancer awareness is very important. As we transition from adolescence into adulthood is it so important we’re in tune with our bodies and are getting regularly checked to be proactive about our health. Cancer is the multiplying of cells in the body and can appear anywhere. Today our focus is on colorectal cancer: what is it? What are the signs? And how you can treat if diagnosed.
What is it? Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon.
Who can get it? The risk increases in people ages 50 and older. People younger than 50 can get it but the risks dramatically increase for people 50 and up.
What are the signs?
· Changes in your bowel habits.
· Alternating diarrhea and constipation.
· Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool.
· Abdominal bloating, cramps or discomfort.
· A feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely.
· Stools that are thinner than normal.
What are the stages?
· Stage 0 – This is called the caner in situ. The cancer cells are on in the inner lining of the rectum.
· Stage 1 – the cancer has grown through the mucosa and has invaded the muscular layer of the rectum.
· Stage 2 – the cancer has grown through the colon wall but has not spread to nearby tissue
o Stage 2a - The cancer has grown through the layers of the muscle to the lining of the abdomen
o Stage 2b – the cancer has grown through the layers of the muscle to the lining of the abdomen but has not yet spread to nearby lymph nodes
· Stage 3 – the tumor has thread through he wall of the colon and has grown into the nearby structures. It has not spread to the nearby lymph nodes.
o Stage 3b – The cancer has grown through the bowel wall and to surrounding organs
o Stage 3c – the cancer of the colon, has spread to 4 or more of the lymph nodes
· Stage 4 – the cancer has spread to a single distant part of the body such as the lungs or liver.
o Stage 4b – cancer has spread to more than one part of the body
How bad is colorectal cancer?
Just like and diagnoses for cancer the 5-year survival rate must be taken into consideration. IF caught early and treated with the proper care, an estimated 9 out of 10 people are alive and doing well with cancer.
Where is the first place colon cancer spreads?
Colon cancer spreads first to the nearby lymph nodes. From there it can spread to other body parts such as the liver. It may also spread to the lungs, bones, or organs.