Bowel Cancer Causes
Bowel cancer is the second most common form of the disease in Australia. Bowel cancer symptoms can be easily missed or attributed to everyday bowel problems and include the presence of blood in the stool, abdominal pain, diarrhoea or constipation.Bowel cancer typically starts from small growths on the lining of the bowel wall, bowel polyps. Age, diet, lifestyle and family history affect and influence the development of bowel cancer.Causes of bowel cancer and prognoses of sufferers can differ greatly but early detection significantly improves the chances of successful treatment and recovery.
Are You At Risk?
Once you have read the important information below and would like to be screened for bowel cancer, you will need to follow this procedure:
What causes bowel cancer?
The causes of bowel cancers are the subject of a great many scientific and medical studies. There are three main issues often highlighted in the research outcomes.
1. Lifestyle is almost always cited first. Exercise, drinking, drugs, smoking and diet. Eating processed and high fat foods is thought to increase the risk of developing tumours in the colon. Getting active, limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding drugs and cigarettes are the primary means to reducing your risk.
2. Hereditary factors such as having relatives who experience bowel and digestive problems or who have been diagnosed with bowel cancer or polyps increase your chances of suffering bowel cancer.
3. Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease has been identified as precursors to colorectal cancers. Those patients should undergo regular screening colonoscopies to identify the changes towards developing bowel cancer early.
Non-smokers, those who lead an active lifestyle and drink moderately have a greater chance of preventing colorectal cancer. Smoking, drugs, excessive alcohol consumption and unhealthy lifestyle are known to contribute to the causes of bowel cancer.
What are the types of Bowel cancer?
Most cases of bowel cancer are multi-factorial but having a family history of bowel cancer increases that risk. In some families there are also two very rare genetic conditions that can cause five to six per cent of bowel cancers. They are:
Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) – which causes hundreds of polyps to form in the bowel and which can become cancerous if they are not removed. Removal of these polyps is done effectively during a colonoscopy procedure as a form of prevention.
Lynch syndrome – (this was known as ‘Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). It is a syndrome defined by a genetic fault. The gene that assists the cell’s DNA to repair itself is affected. With Lynch syndrome your chances of developing bowel and other forms of cancer are heightened.
Remember – a number of lifestyle choices can make a huge impact on reducing your risk factors, so what are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by reading as much as you can about bowel cancer – for yourself, and for your loved ones. It’s been said before – knowledge is power! – So ask your doctor questions, get screening, be positive and trust the professionals!
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, is currently in place for screening all Australians aged 50, 55 and 65 without symptoms with FOBT (faecal occult blood test).
If you are worried or concerned about risks due to your family history of polyps, bowel or other cancers, or you are having problems with any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult your GP and ask about having regular health checks as a form of prevention. And if you have symptoms or problems, your doctor might refer you for a colonoscopy at a diagnostic cetre where polyps can be detected and removed.
Any potential concerns should be discussed with your doctor or contact Direct Endoscopy for more information about what causes bowel cancer.