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Risks of Colon Cancer in Women and Men

Cancer occurs when something goes wrong with this system, causing uncontrolled cell division and growth. Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last 6 inches of the colon. Together, they’re often referred to as colorectal cancers.

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer killer overall and third most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States in both males and females. Who is at risk for colorectal cancer. Men tend to get colorectal cancer at an earlier age than women, but women live longer so they catch up with men and thus the total number of cases in men and women is equal. Women diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer before age 50 are at increased risk of colorectal cancer. Woman with a personal history of breast cancer have only a very slight increase in risk of colorectal cancer. The average age to develop colorectal cancer is 70 years, and 93% of cases occur in persons 50 years of age or older. You have a higher risk for colon cancer if you have:

Cancer elsewhere in the body.
Colorectal polypsCrohn’s disease
Family history of colon cancer
Personal history of breast cancer
Ulcerative colitis.

What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer. Symptoms of colorectal cancer vary depending on the location of the cancer within the colon or rectum, though there may be no symptoms at all. The most common presenting symptom of colorectal cancer is rectal bleeding. Cancers arising from the left side of the colon generally cause bleeding, or in their late stages may cause constipation, abdominal pain, and obstructive symptoms. On the other hand, right-sided colon lesions may produce vague abdominal aching, but are unlikely to present with obstruction or altered bowel habit. Other symptoms such as weakness, weight loss, or anemia resulting from chronic blood loss may accompany cancer of the right side of the colon.

If your doctor learns that you do have colorectal cancer, more tests will be done to see if the cancer has spread. Colonoscopy is currently the only test recommended for colorectal cancer screening in average-risk persons at 10 year intervals. Colonoscopic surveillance (also called screening colonoscopy) needs to be available at more frequent intervals for individuals at high risk for colon cancer (for instance, those with a personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps; family history of colorectal cancer; non-hereditary polyposis; colorectal cancer; or a pre-disposing condition such as inflammatory bowel disease.

The first step to avoiding this ailment is prevention with regular tests at the doctor, but there are other ways of getting around this disease in between checkups. Nevertheless, it appears that increasing the fiber content in the Western diet would be useful in the primary prevention of colorectal cancer. It is recommended that physical activity messages promoting at least 30-45 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity on most days of the week be included in primary prevention interventions for cancer. The population prevalence for meeting proposed physical activity criteria for colon cancer prevention is low and much lower than that related to the more generic public health recommendations.

Our bodies need lots of calcium and not only for building strong bones. Colon cancer prevention is one of the most exciting uses for calcium. However, instead of using calcium supplements, this study relied on low-fat dairy products to supply 1,200mg calcium per day. Investigators found this amount of calcium decreased the incidence of changes in the cells lining the colon, which is often seen in the initial stages of colon cancer. A significant protective factor is adequate dietary calcium intake during the period of maximum growth (ages 9 and 25 y), so that proper peak bone mass is achieved by age 20and 30 y and maintained until mid-life, with only slow bone loss in the following years. As already noted, dietary surveys indicate a significant gap between the recommended calcium intake and the actual intake in the United States in the critical years of adolescence and young adulthood and later in life. In addition, several large-scale, recent studies in humans indicate a role for increased dietary calcium in reducing colon cancer risk, as briefly discussed below.

Both men and women are equally at risk for colorectal cancer. Men over the age of 50 and women over 55 should have this test on an annual basis to detect colon cancer early. Yet colorectal cancer is the third most common malignancy in women after breast and lung cancer. Incidence is slightly higher in men than women, and is highest in African American men. It is believe that the time has come for a full scientific review of cereal-grain enrichment with calcium and vitamin D as a low-cost, safe, and useful route for the reduction of osteoporosis and colon cancer in the United States in both men and women.

Colon Cancer and Colon Cancer Prevention

The colon is one of the most important organs in the body. It’s intended purpose is to return water and nutrients into our bodies and help us eliminate waste. American diets are low in fiber and digestive enzymes. This causes the body produce digestive enzymes at the expense of immune system enzymes.

The low level of fiber prevents the colon from cleaning itself and causes a buildup of toxic matter in the colon. The buildup of toxic matter in the colon can lead to many health problems, the most serious of which is colon cancer. The weakened immune system is unable to fight the disease.

Colon cleansing helps the body rid itself of toxic matter. This in turn allows the colon to aid in the digestive process and allows the production of immune system enzymes to return to normal.

There are several ways to cleanse your colon. One is hydrotherapy, where a small disposable plastic hose is used to irrigate the colon. A licensed professional must perform this procedure. Similarly, enemas are often thought to cleanse the colon, but they have been shown to only clean the bottom portion and rectum.

Herbal supplements are often used in colon cleansing as well. A plant product called psyllium is most usually the base of these treatments. The psyllium’s fiber expands when it comes in contact with water, and the bulky material causes the bowel to contract and expel waste.

There are also oxygen based cleaners that turn the waste into liquid or gas and help it to be expelled.

Another way is to do juice fasting. Juice fasting gives the entire digestive system a much needed rest and for optimal functioning to take place once again after the break.

In a nutshell, colon cancer can be preventable. If you find yourself having meals that are low in fiber, try doing a colon cleanse. A clean colon will mean a healthy colon and a better immune system for your body.

Colon Cancer Affects Men and Women Equally

Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Cancerous tumors found in the colon or rectum also may spread to other parts of the body. Cancer of the colon and rectum (colorectal cancer) is a malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine. If signs and symptoms of colon cancer do appear, they may include changes in bowel habits, blood in your stool, persistent cramping, gas or abdominal pain. Since colon cancer can grow for years without causing any symptoms, it’s best to get regular colon cancer screenings.

Almost all men and women age 50 and older should have a colon cancer screening. Screening tests can help prevent colorectal cancer by finding pre-cancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. For normal risk individuals, screening tests begin at age 50 and the preferred approach is a screening colonoscopy every 10 years; an alternate strategy consists of annual stool test for blood and a flexible sigmoidoscopic exam every 3 to 5 years.

Special screening programs are used for those with a family history of colorectal cancer. Colonoscopic surveillance (also called screening colonoscopy) needs to be available at more frequent intervals for individuals at high risk for colon cancer (for instance, those with a personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps; family history of colorectal cancer; non-hereditary polyposis; colorectal cancer; or a pre-disposing condition such as inflammatory bowel disease. Since your genes cannot be changed, if there is a family history of colon polyps or cancer, a colonoscopy should be performed to remove the polyps before they become malignant.

In the area of prevention, researchers are looking at the effects of curcumin (found in curry), resveratrol (found in red wine), ginger and the Mediterranean diet on the growth and development of colon cancer. Recent research suggests that a high fiber, low-fat diet plays a role in prevention; how great a role it plays is unclear. Although the exact cause of colorectal cancer is not known, it is possible to prevent many colon cancers through: diet and exercise. It is important to manage the risk factors you can control, such as diet and exercise.

A detox program, in most cases shall include a mental shift in attitude towards diet, improving nutrition, removing toxins, returning the desired flora in your internal system, maintaining a balanced pH level in the body and improving the overall mind and body relationship. Diet plays an important role in preventing the development of colon cancer. Diets high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables, such as those that include red meat, fried foods and high-fat dairy products, may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

A body cleanse diet, is a diet that aims to clean and remove harmful toxins from your body. A well known detox diet for your body is the increasingly popular lemon detox diet, which incorporates a number of ingredients and requires you to consume a drink of these ingredients once everymorning, then drinking water with a hint of lemon juice throughout theday. Generally, a healthy and safe detox diet will not require you to starve yourself, and it contains highly nutritious food that can help to boost your metabolism.

While you are doing your colon cleanse, make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and exercise. Exercise is believed to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Light exercise is also a good way of getting the blood circulating in your body. Gentle, no-impact exercise safe and beneficial for people of all ages. There are tons of exercise programs and plans out there, or just walkingfor at least 12-15 minutes a day is beneficial to the colon function.

Detoxification is an efficient process of removing toxins from the body. The bodies natural detoxification system had simply not evolved to deal with the future man made pollutants that were to come. With the increase of toxins within the environment and foods we eat, it is not surprising that the majority of people are at a level of toxicity that is past the point that the bodies own natural detoxification system can cope with. Regular detoxification will help avoid serious problems and keep you feeling better, both mentally and physically. Detoxification kits may be bought from health food stores, or a qualified practitioner or natural physician can recommend detox products.

What is colon cancer&treatment

One 6-letter word that smacks fear into the hearts and minds of many people in this day and age is the word ‘Cancer’. I would venture to say that this fear is most likely the result of a lack of knowledge of the disease. If you fall into that category, then hopefully the information that you receive here will put you at ease, as well as inspire you to find out
more from the vast storehouse of information that is available.

What is cancer?
Briefly, it is brought about when cells in our body do not mature. A normal healthy cell has a specific function to perform in the body. These immature cells are not performing their proper function, and so remain undeveloped. They then begin feeding on the body, stealing nutrition in an attempt to grow, and thus become cancerous. How quickly they grow out of control, causing the spread of the cancer, is dependant on the strength of an individuals natural defenses against these cells.

Every day, every one of us is exposed to innumerable cancer-causing agents. It has been established that approximately 70 to 80 percent of all cancers occur as a result of the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink, as well as lifestyle and environmental factors. Approximately one third of deaths from cancer are related to dietary factors. Our bodies have natural defense mechanisms to battle these ‘agents’, but in many cases, because of neglecting proper nutrition and exercise, and abusing our bodies by loading them with even more harmful agents, then these defenses are weakened or overwhelmed, and cancer begins to gain a foothold in the body.

Colon cancer, or colorectal cancer as it’s sometimes known as is cancer which starts in the digestive, or gastrointestinal (GI) system. A colon’s primary responsibility is to process food into energy and remove all waste materials. As with any cancer, the disease begins when cancerous cells begin to grow out of control compared to normal, non-cancer cells. Every cancer is different depending on where it occurs, so colon cancer will generally progress at a different rate, cause different
symptoms, and respond to different medical treatments. Although there are some specific treatment methods for the different body areas affected, there are some basic principles, which are common to all cancer forms. .

Perhaps you’re reading this article because you are suffering form cancer right now, or perhaps you know someone else who is. Maybe you’re just looking for information to help avoid it in the future. Whatever your circumstances are, I urge you to imprint the following statement deeply into your mind – Cancer Can Be Conquered! However, with the rapid advances that have been made with modern medicine, as well as the rediscovery of ancient natural therapies that are built upon good nutrition and sound principles of daily living, it can be stated with confidence. I’ll say it again – Cancer Can Be Conquered.

The first victory over colon cancer is it must be made on the battlefield of the mind. It is here that fear seeks to control and overwhelm you. I would encourage you to make a firm decision to stand up against this giant of fear, and to reach beyond it to find hope and faith. There is a statement that is made that says, ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ So, the first step to being set free from the enemy of fear is to find out the truth concerning cancer. The lie has for too long been that cancer is the end of the road – incurable.

The truth is just the opposite. Realize that and set yourself free from the numbing fear of cancer that wants to defeat you. Say that you are more than enough to fight against it. Make a firm decision that you are going to defeat with you will power.

Most of the time, colon cancer spreads slowly over a period of years, and colon cancer can effect any section or layer of your colon. The key to have a good prognosis with colon cancer is to catch the disease early. If a doctor can find and remove a colon cancer polyp in the early stages, then there is a much better chance of recovery. Risk factors of colon cancer include age, family history, smoking, ethnicity, diet, lack of exercise, alcohol, and history of other bowel disease. If you are in an at-risk category, then it is important to get a colon cancer screening test. If you are unsure with you fit the profile, talk to ask primary physician first.

Our supplementary diets have a positive effect. They are natural and have no side effects. We should also be positive in that certain foods greatly strengthen and aid our built in immune system in the ongoing battle against our healthy body cells. We should be negative in that there are certain foodstuffs that have been shown to be harmful, and to greatly speed up the growth and spread of cancer cells. It thus becomes imperative that we learn what foodstuffs are immune boosters, and which ones weaken it.

Besides our diet, the next major contributing factor to consider is the environment we are living in. More and more vehicles are being produced, and more and more factories built, pumping out toxic gases into the atmosphere, causing a subtle build-up of toxins in our
bodies, wearing down the ability of the immune system to cope. Unfortunately, we have very little control over these environmental effects, other than to relocate to a safer
environment, which is not always possible. This then makes it even more vital for us to build up our immune systems with the right foods, and supplementary minerals and vitamins.

One last consideration to take note of is that any cancer is more easily defeated if caught in its early stages. Therefore it is very important to have regular medical check-ups, even if we are feeling fine. Then too, learn what are the telltale symptoms for the various cancers, and at the first evidence of anything suspicious, get it checked out by your doctor.

Colon cancer has become the 3rd most common form of Cancer in men and 4th in women and is the second leading cause of death among cancers. If it is left untreated, it can spread and affect other parts of the body, such as the liver and lungs, causing new tumors to form in these organs. This process of the cancer spreading is called metastasis. Once metastasis sets in, the chances of curing the cancer completely are slim.

Therefore early detection is key to making a full recovery. The removal of benign (non-cancerous) colon polyps can prevent colon cancer. Colon polyps initially appear in benign form. Over time, benign colon polyps can undergo chromosome damage to become cancerous. There is no definitive cause for colon cancer, but diets high in fat are believed to play a role in the formation. Other factors include a family history of colon cancer, polyps in the large intestine and ulcerative colitis.

Caregivers Play Key Role in Disease Management of Older Colon Cancer Patients

Colon cancer patients who are 65 and older may benefit from a caregiver’s involvement, and caregivers may ultimately have a major impact on patients’ disease management, according to a survey of oncologists commissioned by the Alliance for Aging Research.

Ninety percent of oncologists feel that caregivers have a moderate to major impact on the decision-making process. Unfortunately, only about 64 percent of colon cancer patients in this age group have caregivers’ support.

“Physicians should encourage patients to enlist a caregiver and involve them in the treatment decision-making process,” said Dr. Stuart Lichtman, associate attending physician at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

More than half of oncologists who agree that colon cancer patients 65 and older have a more difficult time managing their disease than younger patients also agree that these patients are generally less proactive about researching available treatment options. Seventy-seven percent said that such patients experienced better disease outcomes with a caregiver’s involvement due to increased communication. Additionally, caregivers play an important role in providing emotional support, participating in doctors’ visits and in decisions about disease management options and providing transportation to appointments.

“It is clear that caregivers are key to ensuring that colon cancer patients 65 and older receive the best care,” said Daniel Perry, executive director of Alliance for Aging Research. “Since managing colon cancer can be a complicated and confusing process especially for the aging population, a caregiver, whether a spouse, child, friend or neighbor, should be actively involved.”

“Crossing Jordan” star Miguel Ferrer, who lost his father, José Ferrer, to colon cancer, is partnering with the Alliance for Aging Research in a program called “Caring for the Aging,” to educate colon cancer patients and caregivers about the importance of active involvement in the treatment of the disease. This awareness program is sponsored by sanofi-aventis.

“The involvement of my stepmother helped ease my father’s decision-making process as he went down a difficult path,” Ferrer said. “I encourage all caregivers and family members to become actively involved and ask the right questions to ensure the best possible outcomes for their loved one.”

Treatments & Coping With Colon Cancer

Patients who receive a diagnosis of colon cancer quickly become depressed and have a lot of unanswered questions about their future. The most important thing for them to realize is that they are not alone and that their friends and family are there to provide love and support.

When dealing with any type of illness, including colon cancer, family and friends are the first thought of a positive support system. Understandably, these same people may be experiencing a lot of emotional pain and anxiety themselves, which stems from seeing their loved on suffering from an illness. If, for these reasons, a cancer patient cannot find support at home, it’s a good idea to join a local support group or become involved in an activity that they enjoy. If their health allows it, a cancer patient should continue living life and enjoying every day as possible. While quality of life is very important, making sure to take time out for rest is one of the key points for successful recovery from any illness.

Immediately following diagnosis, a colon cancer patient may want to visit their local library or research the internet for educational resources, of which there are plenty available. This information will help the patient to become better informed and allow them to be more involved with their treatment. It’s important to know, and understand, what is happening to the body during an illness, treatments and recovery. It is equally recommended that a patient remain involved in his/her care for as long as possible. This can be achieved by conducting research, asking the physician a lot of questions and preparing for best and worst case scenarios.

Depending on how advanced a cancer patient’s illness is, several treatment options are available. If a patient decides to move forward with treatment, he/she may also wish to consult another physician for a second opinion in order to confirm the diagnosis and recommended treatment. The best outcome is to eliminate the cancer completely but, if that is not possible, the doctor may be able to stop the cancer from spreading or to relieve the patient‘s symptoms and discomfort.

Assuming the patient’s health will allow it, and he/she wishes to pursue remedies, the main method of treatment is surgery. Depending on the location and size of the cancer, a doctor may be able to remove all or part of the colon. If a polyp is the only cancer that is known to be present, it may be all that needs removing. In some cases of colon cancer, the patient must wear a permanent colostomy following surgery. This occurs if the cancer is so advanced that it forces the doctor to remove the entire colon.

Another common approach to treating colon cancer is for the patient to begin a series of chemotherapy treatments. This process involves the intake of medicines to help fight the cancer cells, which can either be taken orally or delivered through the patient’s veins. This option is often most useful to rid the patient of any lingering cancer cells following surgery. In addition, chemotherapy may be used to control the growth of cancer, relieve symptoms and prolong life. Radiation therapy, often used in conjunction with chemotherapy to help combat various other cancers, is not a treatment used to help colon cancer patients after surgery.

This article should not be construed as professional medical advice. If you, or someone that you know, is concerned about the possibility of cancer, you should seek medical attention immediately. A medical doctor can discuss various options, prevention and treatment possibilities should the presence of cancer be detected. A series of tests may be conducted in order to confirm, or rule out, any such diagnosis and can only be done by a medical doctor.

Colon cleansing is preventative health care

Colon cleansing is preventative health care, rather than a treatment for a disease. It is critical because it helps to detoxify your body of all the unnecessary and unwanted toxins that build up in your body. It is also regarded as a safe and alternative method to treat many of our symptoms and problems. Colon cleansing is a procedure of cleansing the body, resulting in the release of toxins, poisons, carcinogens and free radicals. Natural colon cleansers are also available and if you think you don’t have much time and money for clinic sessions, you can do colon cleansing at home.

Colon cleansing is the first step on the road to recovery. Detoxification is necessary to rid our body of toxins that accumulate as a result of an unhealthy diet, environmental pollution and chemicals, and a constant use of antibiotics. Cleansing your body with an effective, all natural colon treatment is a good way to approach parasites cleansing, weight gain, IBS, severe gas and bloating, etc. Cleansing, also called detoxification, is our body’s normal process of elimination, a function that occurs daily through our colon, liver, kidney, lungs, lymph and skin. Cleansing reactions are part of cleansing and are not the same as “side effects” normally associated with medication.

Naturally, the colon in your digestive system is responsible for holding wastes. Natural colon cleansing involves a cleansing diet, which consists of some efficient herbs that are known for killing certain harmful parasites and worms. Body detox is one of the effective way to keep us
healthy, help our digestion system and put all the toxins out of the body. Natural colon cleansing involves taking a balanced diet and additionally,
a few herbal supplements that help kill the harmful bacteria and in removing excess of toxins.

Natural colon cleansing is a great way to help restore health to this vital organ of your digestive system. Natural herbal colon cleansers makes the process of colon detox very smooth and thus helps us to maintain our body in a much more effective way. More often than not, natural colon cleansing means following a colon cleansing diet along with taking some colon cleansing supplements which may include herbs which are known to kill parasites and worms, contain digestive enzymes, contain probiotics
(beneficial bacteria), contain herbs that stimulates liver, gallbladder and intestines, also psyllium husk or seeds, Cascara Sagrada, or flax seeds, or
slippery elm, and others.

Cancer of the colon and rectum (colorectal cancer) is a malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine. Cancer affecting the colon and/or rectum is diagnosed in more than 140,000 Americans each year. Cancer of the colon and rectum is the third most common cause of cancer death in women (after lung and breast cancers) and the third most common cause of cancer death in men (after lung and prostate cancers). This is probably one of the reason as to why one can find literally find thousands of magazines and journals which gives a detailed analysis on the dangers of deadly toxins that can inturn lead to the building up of parasites and ultimately leads on to colon cancer.

Colon cleansing herbs are of paramount importance to the health of the body as they can eliminate the many toxins in the body system which the body cannot normally expel. Colon cleansing herbs are available in two different forms — namely, a pre-made formula or just as single herbs. Colon cleansing herbs are simply mixtures of herbs that have been found to help expedite the removal of waste from a person’s body in an efficient way.

A Healthy Colon Is Imperative For Keeping The Body Healthy And Detoxified

With today’s active life style’s and less than adequate eating habits a healthy colon is imperative for keeping the body healthy and detoxified.
Part of the reason so many Americans have an unhealthy colon is the lack of fiber benefits to their diet. Having a healthy colon is the key to long term health and finding good colon healthy recipes is one way to help keep your body healthy. Constipation, digestive distress, and mucous in your stools are just a few signs that your colon might not be completely healthy, and a healthy colon is absolutely necessary for a healthy body.

Don’t let an unhealthy colon become a breeding ground for toxic poisons, parasites, disease and death. Colon therapy can also help rid the body of
parasites without a need for the heavy drugs usually prescribed to treat them. There are a number of colon cleansing products on the market today
that will cleanse the colon as well as expel parasites.

Diets of saturated fats, meats, sugars and processed foods contribute to impacted feces along the inside of the colon wall. However, eating a diet with insufficient fiber is like cleansing dishes without a sponge. A healthy diet full of fiber and probiotics (good bacteria and yeast),
plenty of rest and water, and regular exercise keeps your colon healthy. The problem is that no one who eats a “normal” diet is able to escape
the gradual formation of caked deposits and build-ups on the lining of the colon. Many people might be amazed and disgusted at what actually comes
out of an average “healthy” person during a colonic treatment.

If you want to prevent colon toxicity, chronic disease and premature aging, cleansing your colon is essential. Colon cleansing is the best defense
against colon toxicity developing, as well as maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Take charge of this important bodily function: Get
started cleaning your colon today. There are several products that we believe work very well for getting and keeping a clean and healthy colon and digestive tract. A colon cleansing can actually assist in weight loss as well, in fact some have reported up to a twenty five (25) pound loss almost over night.

A normal healthy colon is the cornerstone of a sound nutritional program assuring normal assimilation of nutritional supplements as well as dietary
food nutrients. A healthy colon is truly essential to one’s overall health, especially when you consider that literally everything you eat ends up in your bowels as toxins. One of the most important things you can do to keep a healthy colon is to cleanse your body of toxins, pollutants and impacted fecal matter. The recommended amount of fiber everyone needs to maintain a healthy colon is generally between 20 and 35 grams of fiber a day.

We place significant importance on the products we use to brush our teeth, wash our hair, and cleanse our bodies. Find out as much information as possible, and speak to people who have actually used colon cleansing products and services. The elimination of undigested food and other waste products are as important as the proper digest and assimilation of food stuffs. Psyllium husk and bentonite clay based herbal colon cleansing products are safe and we recommend them as part of your overall getting healthy plan.

A Mother’s Battle With Advanced Colon Cancer

In the fall of 2003, Bridget Beranek, a 44-year-old wife and mother of two young girls, was gearing up for a busy holiday season filled with family functions, parties and shopping. So when she began to lose her appetite and energy, Bridget initially chalked it up to holiday stress.

When the New Year came and went, but Bridget’s symptoms were still present, she knew it was more than stress. After several visits to her primary care physician, Bridget saw an internist, and underwent a colonoscopy. In March 2004, she was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer that had spread to her liver.

“I know it sounds cliché, but I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” said Bridget. “Scheduling a colonoscopy was not a priority for me because I was under 50 and lived a healthy lifestyle. I ate right, didn’t drink or smoke, and went regularly for a mammogram. One thing I learned from this experience is that colon cancer is a disease more people, especially women, need to be better informed about.”

The American Cancer Society reports that colorectal cancer, commonly referred to as colon cancer, is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, second only to lung cancer. It is also the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women.

Risk factors for colon cancer include a family or personal history of the disease, intestinal polyps or chronic inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, a high-fat diet, and being age 50 or older. Symptoms may include changes in bowel habits, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, fatigue, blood in the stool or unexplained weight loss, though many people are diagnosed without any symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends men and women over age 50 who have an average risk for colon cancer receive screening. Higher-risk patients, such as those with a family history of the disease, should talk with their physicians about when they should begin screening.

Fortunately for Bridget, a new treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer had just been approved by the FDA, only weeks before her diagnosis. Her oncologist decided to treat her with a combination of traditional chemotherapy and a targeted therapy called Avastin® (bevacizumab). Though she occasionally has side effects such as fatigue, Bridget’s cancer has responded to the treatment and she is doing well. She is thankful to be able to spend time with her husband and daughters, and to practice her favorite hobby, photography.

Typically, metastatic colorectal cancer patients undergo surgery followed by chemotherapy. Today’s targeted therapies, which are designed to attack cancer cells in a more specific way than chemotherapy, provide an additional tool for doctors to use in treating this disease. Avastin, for example, is an angiogenesis inhibitor, which means it interferes with the blood vessels that feed cancer tumors, to help prevent tumors from growing and spreading to other parts of the body. Avastin is approved for use in combination with intravenous 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy for first-line treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

It is important to keep in mind that Avastin has been associated with side effects in colorectal cancer. Serious side effects occur rarely, but can include gastrointestinal perforation and slow or incomplete wound healing and blood clot complications. Other more common side effects seen in clinical trials include nosebleeds, high blood pressure, proteinuria (too much protein in the urine, which may be a sign of kidney damage), weakness, pain, diarrhea, and a reduced white blood cell count.

Because everyone is different, it is not possible to predict what side effects an individual may experience. If you have questions about side effects or treatment with Avastin, talk to your doctor or another member of the health-care team.