What are the symptoms and risk factors for colon cancer? What is colonoscopy, why and how is it performed?
Due to the increasing prevalence of malnutrition habits and obesity, the incidence of colon cancer has been increasing in people under 50 years of age in recent years. Colon cancer, which is one of the most life-loss cancer types due to the fact that it gives almost no symptoms in the early period, can actually be prevented with regular colonoscopy screening. In addition, even if cancer occurs, early diagnosis can completely heal the patient.
Gastroenterologists stated that people with no risk factors should have a colonoscopy every 5-10 years from the age of 45, even if they have no complaint. People whose next of kin have colon cancer can determine the age at which they start colon cancer screening by subtracting 10 years from the age at which their relative is diagnosed.”
What are the risk factors for colon cancer?
Experts explained 10 factors that increase the risk of colon cancer, giving important warnings and recommendations.
Family history is one of the risk factors for colon cancer. 20 percent of patients diagnosed with colon cancer have genetic transition. Therefore, those with colon cancer in their family should be much more attentive to their own screening programs.
Advanced colon cancer is one of the major risk factors. So much so that more than 90 percent of patients diagnosed with colon cancer are over 40 years of age, and the risk of developing colon cancer increases more than twice every 10 years.
It is called ‘colon polyps’ that the layer covering the colon grows and protrudes into the intestinal tract. According to numerous studies; Colon polyps are responsible for 90-95 percent of colon cancer, which increases incidence with advancing age.
Gastroenterologists warn that 10-20 percent of polyps with benign tumors develop cancer in about 10 years, “Polyps, which we usually call ‘hidden danger’ because they do not cause any complaints before cancer, can be detected and removed thanks to regular colonoscopy scans. Thus, they can be prevented from turning into cancer.”
Malnutrition is an important risk factor for colon cancer. Especially the low consumption of nutrients such as vegetables and fruits rich in fiber almost invites colon cancer. Thanks to the diet, which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, constipation is prevented and the exposure of colon cells to carcinogens decreases. In addition, high fiber diets help beneficial bacteria in the gut produce a number of chemicals, reducing the risk of developing cancer. Therefore, in order to protect against colon cancer, foods rich in fiber should be regularly included on the table.
Experts warn that barbecued meat increases the risk of colon cancer at every turn. This is due to the release of heterocyclic amine and chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in meats that are directly exposed to fire.
Gastroenterologists reminded that these chemicals increase the risk of colon cancer, “Therefore, care should be taken to ensure that the meat is at least 15 cm away from the fire. In addition, the contact of meat with smoke increases the risk of cancer”
Cigarettes and alcohol
Scientific studies show that smoking and alcohol use are a serious risk factor for colon cancer as well as many cancers. In a study; Smokers were found to be 18 times more likely to develop colon cancer than non-smokers. Numerous studies have also found that colon cancer increases 1.5 times compared to those who never drink alcohol in people who consume 50 ml or more of alcohol per day.
Obesity, which is an important problem of our time, increases the risk of colon cancer by 50 percent, among many diseases. Obesity facilitates the development of cancer by increasing insulin/IGF-1 and inflammatory hormones in the blood. In addition, obesity patients are more likely to have poor eating habits.
Processed meat products
Processed meat products such as salami, sausages, sausages and bacon are among the carcinogenic foods. In addition, excessive consumption of red meat increases the risk of colon cancer in particular.
Some inflammatory diseases
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which are inflammatory bowel diseases, are factors that increase the risk of colon cancer. Five years after the diagnosis of the disease, the increase in cancer risk reaches a significant level. Therefore, it is of great importance to suppress and stop inflammation.
Sedentary life; it increases the risk of colon cancer along with obesity and many cancers. So much so that the risk of colon cancer rises by 30 percent. Exercising 2 days a week with a program suitable for your age reduces the risk of cancer along with cardiovascular diseases.
What is colonoscopy? How is it applied?
Colonoscopy is used to screen for colon and rectal cancer in the examination of bowel-related complaining or findings.
It is called the examination process starting from the breech with a medical device (colonoscope) about the thickness of a human finger, which can be bent, with a camera and light at the end, for the purpose of examining the large intestine. It is used for colon and rectal cancer screening in the examination of bowel-related complaining or findings.
A day or two before colonoscopy (according to the abdomen of the specialist), the patient needs to be fed a juicy, soft diet, and at the same time he needs to take his (laxative) medications to clean the intestines before the procedure, as indicated by his physician.
When coming into the procedure, the patient is asked to be hungry and 4-5 days and 1 week before the procedure, if he is using it, he is asked to discontine his blood thinners (such as aspirin, heparin, kumadin) if possible. Warning information about the diet to be applied before the procedure, the use of drugs and the medications that should be discontinued should be explained to the patients beforehand by the unit where the patient is given an appointment, by the patient’s own physician or endoscopy unit employees.
How is it applied?
Both legs are pulled towards the chest and examined in the left-sided position. The patient is given superficial anesthesia, which allows deep sleep to fall into the hospital, accompanied by an anesthesiologist.
After the patient is fully asleep, the specialist doctor first advances the colonoscope device towards the last part of the large intestine (rectum). After that, the intestine is inflated by giving air with a colonoscope, making the inner surface of the intestine visible.
The colonoscope is pushed forward, examining all large intestine sections from the small intestine to the place of the large intestine joint. This process takes about 20-30 minutes. The terminal ileum, the last part of the small intestine, is also examined by switching from the large intestine to the small intestine.
The doctor can remove the abnormal formations (such as polyps) he encounters during the colonoscopy process with the help of a colonoscope. Biopsies can also be obtained from various parts of the intestine, taking into account the patient’s complaints when appropriate and necessary.
After the procedure is finished, the patient is taken to the compilation room in order to pass the effect of the drugs given and to return the patient’s consciousness to the preoperable state.