June 3, 2023
Abdominal pain is a dangerous symptom.

Abdominal pain is a dangerous symptom.

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First of all, it is important to know that in the early stages of colorectal cancer (commonly called bowel cancer) is now successfully treated. Therefore, oncologists do not cease to call: undergo oncological screenings on time, that is, regular examinations for early diagnosis of the disease. At the same time, the older generation traditionally visits doctors more often, including because of existing health problems. But young people and citizens in their prime, especially men, often reach the doctor only when it is no longer possible to endure or painkillers do not help.

Meanwhile, colorectal cancer is rapidly getting younger. The number of adults under 50 with the condition has nearly doubled in recent years. report researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In particular, people born in 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer compared to those born in 1950. In this regard, in the United States, for example, the age of onset of screening for early diagnosis of such tumors has been reduced from 50 to 45 years.

But in addition to regular examinations, it is important for a person to monitor changes in his condition himself. And when alarming signs appear, consult a doctor without wasting time. Scientists at the University of Washington conducted an analysis of the symptoms that most often signal disorders associated with the development of colorectal cancer at a relatively early age. Experts studied data from more than 5,000 patients who developed the disease before they were 50 years old. It turned out that there are four main signs that appear in people in the period from 3 months to 2 years before diagnosis. This:

– abdominal pain;

– rectal bleeding;

– diarrhea;

– iron deficiency anemia (determined by a blood test).

The presence of one of these signs doubles the likelihood that a person has colorectal cancer established researchers. If a person has two signs from the list, then the probability of a tumor in the intestine is increased by more than 3.5 times. If three or four symptoms are present, the risk of cancer is more than 6.5 times higher.

At the same time, even a complete set of alarming signs is by no means a 100% confirmation of cancer, doctors emphasize. Other diseases may also have such symptoms – you need to undergo an examination as soon as possible to exclude a malignant tumor. Or when it is detected, start treatment.

– We want young people to be aware of such symptoms and act in accordance with them (that is, they consult a doctor and undergo examinations. – Ed.). This is especially important because colorectal cancer has traditionally been considered a disease of the elderly. And those under 50 years of age are sure that they have a low risk and do not undergo regular screenings, – said one of the authors of the study, MD, professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine Yin Cao. In addition, according to the scientist, it is necessary to disseminate such information among primary care physicians (in Russia these are district clinics).

Dr. Cao also identified the two most troubling symptoms of the “Bad Four.” “Rectal bleeding and iron deficiency anemia, that is, a condition in which there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen, indicate the need for timely endoscopy and follow-up,” explained the professor. This means that with such signs, a colonoscopy should be performed as soon as possible.


What makes bowel cancer younger and how to reduce the risk

Studies show that the development of colorectal cancer at an early age contribute:

– obesity,

– sedentary lifestyle,

– diabetes,

– Abuse of sweets.

The incidence of cancer at a young age has increased primarily due to changes in people’s diet, the authors explain another scientific work, researchers at Brigham Hospital in Boston. The so-called western diet includes a large amount of highly processed foods. All of them – semi-finished products, fast food – are detrimental to the microflora of our intestines. Due to the imbalance of the microbiome, immunity suffers, chronic inflammation develops, and the risk of dangerous mutations in cells increases. And this becomes fertile ground for the development of cancer. Plus, obesity due to the same fast food, overeating with sweets is also a proven factor in increasing the threat of cancer.

What to do? On the one hand, of course, you need to get rid of risk factors. Fortunately, this is in our hands: to start moving more, eat right, treat diabetes without letting the disease take its course. On the other hand, cancer screenings and regular check-ups are very important.

In Russia, screening for colorectal cancer is included in the list of free examinations as part of medical examinations. Types and schedule of examinations for today are as follows:

– analysis of feces for occult blood: once every two years at the age of 40–64 years, annually at the age of 65–75 years;

– If the result of the analysis is positive, then the person is sent for a colonoscopy.

Important: colonoscopy is prescribed regardless of clinical examination, according to medical indications at any time, if the patient goes to the doctor with complaints that may be characteristic of bowel cancer. First of all – those very disturbing symptoms: rectal bleeding, diarrhea, iron deficiency anemia.


What to do with aggravated heredity

If colorectal cancer was in the father or mother, brother or sister, grandparents, this is considered an aggravated family history, explained in one of the interviews with KP, a practicing oncologist surgeon, doctor of medical sciences, deputy director for medical work of the M.I. A.F. Tsyba Alexey Nevolskikh. “In a number of such patients, hereditary forms of cancer are detected,” the expert noted. The risks are highest if relatives started the disease before the age of 50.

With aggravated heredity, colonoscopy is recommended more often than once every 10 years, Nevolskikh said. The schedule in the case of each patient is determined by the doctor.

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