Why should you be concerned about digestive disease? Because colon cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 109,000 new cases of colon cancer and 41,000 new cases of rectal cancer each year in the United States. Combined, they will cause about 49,960 deaths.
This is far too many. When colon cancer is detected and treated before it has spread, there is a 90 percent survival rate at five years. Once the cancer has spread to nearby organs or lymph nodes, however, the five-year survival rate goes down to 66 percent.
Colon cancer has early detection methods which are quite effective. While not intended to diagnose colon cancer or other intestinal diseases, this analysis can help you understand their risk factors and early warning signs.
- Do I have a family history of polyps or colon cancer?
- Do I consume high amounts of red meat?
- Do I use tobacco, alcohol or other harmful drugs?
- Am I over 50 years old?
- Am I overweight?
- Do I have diabetes or a sedentary lifestyle?
- Do I have constipation or hardening of solid waste in the colon?
- Do I have bloating, gas or excessive fullness after meals?
- Do I have pain in the lower esophagus when swallowing?
- Do I have an acid heartburn feeling in the stomach, with or without meals?
- Do I have stools that float or appear greasy?
- Are there large pieces of undigested food in my stools?
- Do I have bloody or black-colored stool? Do I have painful bowel movements, with or without blood?
- Do I have lower intestinal cramping associated with meals?
- Do I get a runny or stuffy nose during or after meals?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then some symptoms of digestive stress may already be present. More than just risk factors, these are warning signs for you to listen to your body. While your doctor is qualified to pronounce a diagnosis of digestive disease, you can help prevent digestive problems by changing your diet and adding nutritional supplements such as cascara sagrada, senna leaf, black walnut bark and slippery elm bark.