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Colon Cancer Awareness

An APPNA Oklahoma Initiative

What is colon cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. When this type of growth occurs in the colon or rectum, the final segment of the gastrointestinal (GI) system; it is called colorectal cancer (CRC).

Colon cancer develops from growths, also called “polyps” , in the inner lining of the colon. Healthcare providers have screening tests that detect precancerous polyps before they can become cancerous. Discuss with your doctor or health care provider about these screening tests.

What are the risks for colorectal cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. When this type of growth occurs in the colon or rectum, the final segment of the gastrointestinal (GI) system; it is called colorectal cancer (CRC).

According to CDC 

Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older. Other risk factors include having—

  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

  • A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.

  • A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

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  •  or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).

Lifestyle factors that may contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer include—

  • Lack of regular physical activity.

  • A diet low in fruit and vegetables.

  • A low-fiber and high-fat diet, or a diet high in processed meats.

  • Overweight and obesity.

  • Alcohol consumption.

  • Tobacco use.

Sourcehttps://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/risk_factors.htm

What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

Early colorectal cancer often has no symptoms, which is one of the reasons screening is so important. As a tumor grows, it may bleed or block the intestine. The most common symptoms are: 

 

  • Blood in the stool or in the toilet after having a bowel movement 

  • A change in bowel habits or the shape of the stool (e.g., more narrow than usual)

  • Cramping, pain, or discomfort in the lower abdomen 

  • An urge to have a bowel movement when the bowel is empty

  • Constipation or diarrhea that lasts for more than a few days

  • Decreased appetite

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Dark or black stool

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What are the stages of colon cancer?

Based on Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) summary staging system, colon cancer has the following stages:

  • In situ: Cancers that have not yet begun to invade the wall of the colon or rectum; these preinvasive lesions are not included in the cancer statistics provided in this report.

  • Local: Cancers that have grown into the wall of the colon or rectum, but have not extended through the wall into nearby tissues.

  • Regional: Cancers that have spread through the wall of the colon or rectum and have invaded nearby tissue, or that have spread to nearby lymph nodes.

  • Distant: Cancers that have spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or lung

The best way is to prevent colon cancer by removing precancerous polyps. However, if we detect cancer earlier before it spreads to other parts of the body, it can still have a good prognosis.  So do not ignore your symptoms!

HOW COMMON IS COLON CANCER?

Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures

2020 - 2022

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INCIDENCE OF COLON CANCER IN OKLAHOMA

Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures

2020 - 2022

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What screening works to prevent colon cancer?

The typically slow course of growth from precancerous polyp to invasive cancer to advanced-stage disease provides a unique opportunity for the prevention and early detection of CRC. Screening can prevent cancer through the detection and removal of precancerous growths and detect the disease at an early stage, when treatment is usually more successful. As a result, screening reduces CRC mortality both by decreasing incidence and increasing survival

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What can I do to help?

  • Don’t ignore any worrisome symptoms such as blood in stool, abdominal pain or change in bowel habits or weight loss.

  • Get screened at age 45. There are different screening methods. You should discuss with you doctor about them. 

  • Encourage your friends and family members to get screened.

  • Participate in local and community efforts to bring awareness about this deadly cancer.

Additional Reference Material

Sources

  • American Cancer Society
  • Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures Document

Social Media Links

  • Facebook

Colon Cancer
Awareness

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An APPNA Oklahoma
Initiative

APPNA Initiative for Colon Cancer Awareness in Oklahoma

With the goal of raising awareness to beat this deadly yet preventable cancer, APPNA ( Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America) arranged a walk as part of its Annual Spring Meeting that was held at OKC downtown in the month of March 2022. This effort laid the tradition of organizing an annual walk. Which we are continuing this year. The 2nd Annual Colon Cancer Awareness walk is planned for Sunday March 5th at 1 pm. 

 

This effort has had an incredible response so far but there remains a lot of work that we need to do to make this cancer a disease of the past. We aspire to make it a year round project where we can engage with the community on social media, website, local workshops, town halls and other platforms to raise awareness for prevention and early detection.

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