Thursday, August 12, 2010

Symptoms of the Colorectal Colon Cancer and the Hemoccult Test

Colorectal cancer - cancer of the colon or the rectum is the second most common cancer in America. It is one of the deadliest of cancers and accounts for 20% of all the cancer deaths. As much as 50% of those who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer will eventually die as per the latest medical statistics. One main reason for such a high mortality is due to the fact that the majority of colorectal cancer cases are detected at a very late stage. If detected early the mortality due this disease is entirely preventable.

Colon CancerOne early symptom of this type of cancer is traces of blood on the surface of or mixed in the stools. This can be easily detected with laboratory testing if not visually clear. In some cases there may be pain or tenderness in the abdomen. But in most cases there will be no symptoms of colorectal cancer until the tumor grows big enough to cause obstruction or rupture of the intestine. At this stage aggressive form of treatment like surgery have to be resorted to.

In order to detect colorectal cancer early many doctors advise Hemoccult test. In this test sample of the stool is applied to a card and to which a solution of plant gum is added. The presence of hemoglobin is detected by the color change. Hemoccult test is most reliable and a simple non invasive test to detect colorectal cancer. Sometimes this test may yield false positive result if the person had recently consumed fresh fruits, vegetables, iron tablets, red meat, aspirin or vitamin c supplements. Moreover even if blood traces are found it does not always mean that the person has colorectal cancer. In fact Nation Cancer Institute states that less than 10% all positive finding with this type of test actually indicated colorectal cancer. A positive finding with the hemoccult test warrants further investigation with tests like sigmoidoscopy.

Prevent Colorectal Cancer

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