Has someone in your family been diagnosed with colon cancer? This can be a scary experience to live through. Not only may you be concerned about your family member, but you may also be worried about your own risk of colon cancer. Colon cancer does have a genetic component, so it is not silly for you to be concerned. However, if you take the time to educate yourself about this disease, you will feel better equipped to keep yourself safe and to recognize any early signs. The following are things that are important to know about colon cancer if it runs in your family.
Colon cancer is not only genetic.
While genetics is one risk factor for colon cancer, they are not the only risk factor. Thankfully, many of the other risk factors for colon cancer are things that you have more control over. One of these risk factors is red meat consumption. It seems that the more red meat people eat, the higher the risk of colon cancer becomes. Limiting the amount of red meat in your diet is therefore a good idea if you have a family history of colon cancer.
Another risk factor for colon cancer is smoking. If you are a smoker, this is yet another good reason to quit. If you are not a smoker, take this as a sign that you should never start.
Colonoscopies are the ultimate screening method.
Getting a colonoscopy can be intimidating. The prep for a colonoscopy, which involves drinking laxative beverages, can be unpleasant. However, if you have a family history of colon cancer, it is very important that you go through with the screening. A colonoscopy can easily detect the early signs of colon cancer, including polyps and abnormal growths.
Since you have a family history, your doctor may want you to undergo a colonoscopy more often than the average person. Adhere to these guidelines. As tempting as it may be to skip a colonoscopy, doing so could be to your detriment.
Early signs can be subtle.
The early signs of colon cancer can be easy to ignore. Loose stools, pain during defecation, and blood in the stool can easily be mistaken for the symptoms of an infection or having eaten something unpleasant. Since you have a family history, though, you should definitely see a doctor if you experience any of these issues.
While having a family member diagnosed with colon cancer can be scary, you can also look at it as an opportunity to be more vigilant about your own disease risk. Keep the information above in mind, and take good care of yourself.
Contact your doctor for more information about colon cancer.