Hemorrhoids are vascular cushions in the anal canal. Hemorrhoids are normal. However, if these vascular cushions become enlarged or inflamed, symptoms, such as bleeding, discomfort, swelling or protrusion, may result. Hemorrhoids become enlarged from increased pressure in the lower rectum. Factors causing increased pressure include: constipation, straining, prolonged sitting on the toilet, pregnancy, obesity and anal intercourse. Hemorrhoids can also enlarge as you get older because the surrounding tissues in your rectum weaken and stretch with age.
Colon Cancer is the Second Leading Cause of Cancer Death
However, the good news is that regular screening colonoscopies can prevent colon cancer from starting. Screening detects growths in your colon (called “polyps”) so they can be painlessly removed before they turn into cancer. Colon cancer can occur at any age, but your risk significantly increases at Age 50.
9 out of 10 People Diagnosed with Colon Cancer are Over the Age of 50
Other Risk Factors
Simply being over 50 increases your risk, but there other factors that also increase your risk. Be sure to talk to Dr. Perryman about them:
- Personal history of polyps—certain types of polyps increase the risk of colon cancer
- Personal history of colon cancer—people who have had colon cancer are more likely to develop it again
- Family history of colon polyps or cancer—individuals who have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, child) who developed colon cancer before age 60, or two or more relatives with colon cancer at any age are at higher risk of developing colon cancer
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
- Hereditary syndromes—Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) or Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC)
- Race—African Americans are at greater risk of developing colon cancer and dying from it than any racial or ethnic group in the United States
- Lifestyle—consuming a diet high in fat, smoking, and physical inactivity increase your risk of colon cancer. Your chance of developing colon cancer increases if you are overweight!
Check with Dr. Perryman about when you should begin your preventative screenings, and how frequently to repeat them if you have any of these risk factors.
Early colon cancer usually has no symptoms
Signs and symptoms of colon cancer often do not present until the cancer is more advanced.
Contact Dr. Perryman immediately if you begin experiencing:
- Change in bowel habits
- Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
- Abdominal discomfort
- A feeling of needing to have a bowel movement or rectal pressure that doesn’t go away
- Weakness and fatigue
- Decreased appetite
- Unintentional weight loss
“Treatments and outcomes continue to improve. There are more options available today than ever before. They vary and may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination depending on the stage and location of the cancer. Surgery can be performed laparoscopically. A permanent colostomy is rarely needed. But you must seek medical attention early to improve your odds of beating this deadly disease.” Lisa A. Perryman, MD, FACS, FASCRS