According to the National Cancer Institute, there are more than 1.3 million people in the United States suffering from colorectal cancer.
They say that 4.3 percent of people will develop this form of cancer in their lifetime. Colorectal cancer affects the colon or rectum. Because one of the risk factors for developing the condition is advanced age, it’s important for family caregivers to recognize the symptoms.
How Colorectal Cancer Starts
Most of the time, colorectal cancer starts when a growth, or polyps, develops in the colon or rectum. The polyps may not be cancerous in the beginning, but sometimes they change. The kind of polyps a person has influences whether it may become cancerous.
The two most common kinds of polyps are:
Hyperplastic and Inflammatory Polyps: These kinds of polyps occur more often than adenomas, but don’t turn into cancer as often, so they are not considered pre-cancerous.
Adenomas: Adenomas are considered pre-cancerous because they can turn into cancer.
Some other things that increase the risk of a person with colon polyps getting colorectal cancer are:
-Having a polyp that is bigger than 1 cm.
-Having more than two polyps.
-When abnormal, but not cancerous, cells are found in a polyp.
-Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
-The early stages of colorectal cancer sometimes don’t cause any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include:
-Colorectal cancer can cause a person’s bowel habits to change. They may either be constipated or have diarrhea that doesn’t go away.
-Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding.
-Pain or cramping in the abdomen.
-Feeling weak or tired.
-Weight loss with no explanation.
-A need to have a bowel movement that doesn’t feel better afterward.
-Stools that are long and pencil-thin.
Of course, there are other things that can cause these symptoms. However, it’s important to report symptoms to the senior’s doctor who can determine the next steps to take.
When a senior is diagnosed with colorectal cancer, they are likely to need help during the treatment and recovery period. Senior care can be just the help they need. A senior care provider can remind them to take medications and make certain they eat well. Senior care providers can also take care of household tasks that the older adult may be unable to do while they are ill, such as cleaning the house, doing laundry, and taking care of pets. If the older adult undergoes chemotherapy as part of their treatment plan, a senior care provider can drive them to their appointments and keep them company during the treatment.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care Services in Laguna Woods, CA, please contact the caring staff at Canaan Home Care today!