COLORECTAL CANCER : THE CHADWICK CANCER
Some weeks ago, the internet was set ablaze following the death of the legendary actor, Chadwick Bozeman who died on August 28, 2020 at the age of 43 years. He died from Stage 3 COLORECTAL CANCER.
His death obviously, has created more awareness on this cancer. However, besides just knowing the cause of his death, I deemed it necessary, additionally, to let us know the peculiar characteristics about this common cancer.
Colon simply means ‘Large intestine’. The rectum begins after the large intestine and ends at the anus.
Colorectal cancer is cancer occurring within this two segments, colon and or rectum.
It is the third commonest cancer worldwide in both sexes.
Cancer of the colon is more common in women, while rectal cancer is commoner among men.
It occurs at any age but especially between 40 – 79 years. The highest occurrence is seen in those between 60 – 79 years. Chadwick was 43 years when he died.
Chadwick was diagnosed four years ago and he had quietly lived through a series of surgeries and chemotherapy without announcing it, while at the same time embarking on his daily activities. Early this year, he was noted to have lost weight making friends express some concern about his health.
Associated Risks for developing colorectal cancer
Red meat- beef, pork and their processed varieties like bacon and ham increase the risk of this cancer. Those who eat two portions a day are at increased risk over those who eating one portion a week.
- High intake of fat, especially saturated fat.
- Low intake of fruits and vegetables in diet.
*First degree relative having the cancer increases the risk of having it.
*Pre-existing conditions like adenoma, ulcerative colitis
Hereditary : about 10-15% are hereditary which also predisposes to breast, uterus and gastric (stomach) cancers.
*Exposure to radiations
HOW DOES IT PRESENT (SYMPTOMS)
👉 The most important and common symptoms of colorectal cancer are CHANGE IN BOWEL HABITS AND ABDOMINAL PAIN. It may be diarrhea, constipation or both.
👉 Passage of blood or mucus in stool
👉 Unintentional weight loss
👉 Lump in the abdomen
👉 Persistent abdominal discomfort – feeling bloated, cramps.
👉 Weakness and fatigue
👉 Bleeding from the anus
The symptoms are usually ignored especially by younger people. I hope Chadwick’s painful demise will awaken the desire to take our health more seriously and never take any body changes for granted.
What you must do
Healthy diet :
- Once you notice any of the above symptoms please see a Doctor, a general surgeon preferably.Each one can easily tell when something is wrong with his/her body (bowel habits).I repeat once you notice any of the symptoms please see a doctor.
He will most likely carry out a colonoscopy (visually examining inside the colon using a scope) and take a biopsy to make a diagnosis.
This facility is increasingly available to us in Nigeria.
- Know your family history of cancers. Once you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you must have a colonoscopy.
- Avoid sedentary life. Exercise more often.
When detected on time, the outcome is a lot better and with a family history, early screenng is always beneficial and can be life saving.