THE bowel cancer gathers tumors that start in the part of the large intestine called the colon and in the rectum and anus.
The disease, also known as colon and rectum or colorectal cancer, was the cause of death of former player Roberto Dinamite, Vasco’s greatest idol, aged 68.
Intestinal changes, presence of blood in the stool, apparent weight loss are among the symptoms of this type of cancer.
Risk factors include advanced age, unhealthy diets such as consumption of ultra-processed foods, and obesity.
Signals and symptons
According to the National Cancer Institute (Inca), the symptoms most often associated with bowel cancer are:
- blood in the stool;
- change in bowel habits (alternating diarrhea and constipation);
- abdominal pain or discomfort;
- weakness and anemia;
- weight loss without apparent cause;
- change in stool shape (very thin, long stools)
- abdominal tumor.
These signs and symptoms are also present in problems such as hemorrhoids, worms, gastric ulcers and others, according to Inca. Therefore, they should be investigated for the correct diagnosis and specific treatment.
The main factors related to a higher risk of developing bowel cancer are: age equal to or above 50 years, excess body weight and unhealthy diet, low in fruits, vegetables and other foods that contain fiber.
Consumption of processed meats (sausage, mortadella, sausage, ham, bacon, turkey breast and salami) and excessive intake of red meat (above 500 grams of cooked meat per week) also increase the risk for this type of cancer.
Other factors related to a greater chance of developing the disease are: family history of bowel cancer, having had bowel, ovarian, uterine or breast cancer, as well as smoking and alcohol consumption.
Inflammatory bowel diseases such as chronic ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease also increase the risk of bowel cancer, as well as inherited diseases such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). There are also patients who have Lynch Syndrome, resulting from a genetic alteration that increases the risk of developing tumors in the colon and rectum.
Occupational exposure to ionizing radiation, such as X-rays and gamma rays, may increase the risk of colon cancer.
Early detection can be done through investigation with clinical, laboratory, endoscopic or radiological examinations, of people with signs and symptoms suggestive of the disease (early diagnosis) or of people without signs or symptoms (screening), but belonging to groups with greater chance of having the disease.
Colon and rectal (colorectal) tumors can be screened using two main tests: fecal occult blood tests and endoscopies (colonoscopy or rectosigmoidoscopy).
Bowel cancer is a treatable and often curable disease. Surgery is the initial treatment, removing the affected part of the intestine and the lymph nodes, structures that are part of the body’s defense system, inside the abdomen.
Other stages of treatment include radiotherapy, with or without chemotherapy, to reduce the possibility of tumor recurrence.
Treatment mainly depends on the size, location and extent of the tumor. When the disease is widespread, with metastases to the liver, lung or other organs, the chances of cure are reduced.
Most of these tumors start from polyps, benign lesions that can grow on the inner wall of the large intestine.
According to the National Cancer Institute (Inca), bowel cancer is strongly associated with lifestyle habits, such as smoking, poor diet and physical inactivity.
The incidence of the disease has been increasing in recent years and, at the same time, it is observed that the population is increasingly exposed to risk factors and less exposed to protective factors, which would be healthier lifestyle habits.
The maintenance of adequate body weight, the practice of physical activity, as well as a healthy diet are essential for the prevention of bowel cancer. A healthy diet consists mainly of fresh and minimally processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other legumes, grains and seeds.
In addition, you should avoid eating processed meats (eg sausage, mortadella, sausage, ham, bacon, turkey blanquet, turkey breast, salami) and limit the consumption of red meat to 500 grams of cooked meat per week.
This eating pattern is rich in fiber and, in addition to promoting good bowel function, it also helps with body weight control.
Know how to identify ultra-processed foods
Source: CNN Brasil
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