Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Q&A with Marla Ahlgrimm | Colon Cancer

Marla Ahlgrimm answers questions about colon cancer, a disease that is on the rise in people born within the last 30 years.

Q: Is colon cancer fatal?

Marla Ahlgrimm: While all cancers can be deadly, colon cancer is very often preventable. However, many of its symptoms mimic that of irritable bowel syndrome. Sadly, the symptoms of each are embarrassing and many women forgo medical testing.

Q: What are some of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer?

Marla Ahlgrimm: One of the first signs of colon cancer includes blood in the stool. Although small amounts of bright red blood likely indicate a hemorrhoid or small fissure in the soft tissue surrounding the anus, dark maroon or black-colored streaks in either hard or soft stool indicates bleeding deep inside the colon.

Q: Are cramps common in women with colon cancer?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Intestinal cramping can indicate many things, colon cancer is just one of them. However, extreme pain that seems to come from nowhere that is not relieved by eliminating or passing gas should be checked. Likewise, women with unfamiliar pains in the abdomen coupled with prolonged constipation also indicate a potential problem.

Q: What are signs of a colon blockage?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Intestinal obstructions, whether caused by cancer or other medical issues, can cause abdominal swelling, constipation, vomiting, loss of appetite, and extreme pain. Feces that is released from the body may be pencil-thin and streaked with blood. The most common causes of bowel obstruction include intestinal adhesions, hernias, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and fecal impaction.

Q: What are risk factors associated with colon cancer?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Until recently, age was believed to be the most prominent risk factor with people older than the age of 50 being at the highest risk. However, there’s been an increasing number of cases people born since 1990. A family history of colorectal cancer along with rare inherited conditions such as Lynch syndrome also increase a person’s risk.

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