The third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men is colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for men.
The colon is also known as the large intestine or large bowel. The last six inches of the colon are called the rectum. A healthy colon takes the liquid leftovers not absorbed by the small intestine, removes the water and salts the body needs and forms stool. Stool is stored in the last six inches of the colon (the rectum). Most colorectal cancers occur in the segment closest to the rectum.
SYMPTOMS OF COLORECTAL CANCER
- any change in bowel habits
- rectal bleeding
- lower abdominal pain or bloating
- any change in the size or shape of your stool
- chronic weakness
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor.
REDUCE YOUR RISK
- If you’re over age 40, have a digital rectal exam and stool test done each year. A digital rectal exam is performed by a doctor who feels inside the rectum to see if a tumor is present.
- If you’re over age 50, have a sigmoidscopic exam performed every other year and a stool test for blood every year. During a sigmoidscopic examination, the rectum and colon are viewed with a flexible, lighted tube.
- Eat a healthy diet high in fiber and low in fat.
- Get plenty of exercise.
RISK FACTORS FOR COLORECTAL CANCER
- family history of the disease
- personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
- personal history of polyps
- eating a high-fat diet
- eating a diet low in dietary fiber