What is the risk of advanced bowel cancer?
Bowel cancer is reportedly the third most diagnosed cancer in the world. More than 1.9 million new cases of bowel cancer were reported in 2020. Just like any other cancer, bowel cancer occurs when the cells that line the large bowel, or colon or the rectum, grow abnormally and out of control, which is why, depending on where the cancer starts, it is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer.
Can bowel cancer spread to other parts of the body?
Bowel cancer can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early and on time. There’s a likelihood that it may spread to other parts of the body including the liver, the lungs, brain, peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), or to distant lymph nodes. This is also called advanced bowel cancer, which is when the cancer starts to spread to another part of the body.
What happens when bowel cancer spreads to the bones?
While rare, bowel cancer can also spread to the bone. This is known as bone metastasis. It occurs when cancer cells break away from the original tumor and spread to the bones, where they begin to multiply, explains the Mayo Clinic.
According to the Cancer Research UK, cancer that spreads to the bones causes hypercalcaemia, which means that there is too much calcium in the blood. Experts believe it is the most common life-threatening complication of cancer in adults and is said to develop in 0% to 20% of adults with cancer.
Signs and sensations to note
Given that bowel cancer can spread to your bones causing hypercalcaemia, the Cancer Research UK warns against three sensations that may indicate the spread of the tumor. These include:
– Feeling sick (nausea)
Tumour that has spread to the bones can lead to damaged and weakened bones, while also triggering a lot of pain. This can further increase the chances of fracture.
Other symptoms of hypercalcaemia to watch out for
It is important to note that having hypercalcaemia symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have an advanced bowel cancer condition. However, it is essential that you’re aware of all the associated symptoms of the condition:
– Upset stomach
– Irritability and confusion
Early signs of bowel cancer you must know about
According to the NHS, the symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and do not necessarily make you feel ill. However, some of the symptoms include:
– A persistent change in bowel habits
– Blood in the stool without other symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids)
– Abdominal pain, discomfort or frequent bloating
Constipation, where you pass harder stools less often, is rarely caused by serious bowel conditions, highlights the health of the body.
Understanding your risk factors
Anyone is subject to any type of cancer. However, your chances may increase if you have any risk factors associated with cancer.
As far as bowel cancer is concerned, the Cancer Research UK says that factors including age, family history, being obese, unhealthy food habits, low physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption can increase risk of developing the disease.
If you have underlying health conditions like diabetes, gallstones, and acromegaly, then again you can be prone to the illness.
Make sure you get yourself tested and screened regularly to avoid delay in diagnosis and treatment. (TIMESOFINDIA.COM)