An Ibadan radiologist, Dr Samuel Awotunde, on Friday called for increased enlightenment on colon cancer, which he described as the third most common cancer in men, after prostate and liver
cancer. Awotunde made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan. He said that his call was necessitated by the fact that many Nigerians were not aware of the disease.
Awotunde said that while colon cancer was preventable, it usually did not have obvious symptoms in the early stages. “Up to 80 per cent of those diagnosed of colon cancer die from it; this is however unfortunate because colon cancer is one of the preventable cancers. “Colon cancer develops slowly over a period of time without showing symptoms,” he said.
According to him, the disease usually develops as a small non-cancerous growth in the inner lining of the colon or rectum.
The radiologist said that symptoms might include change in bowel habit such as diarrhoea, constipation, or diarrhoea alternating with constipation that lasts for more than a few days. “Some of the symptoms are a feeling that you need to pass stool that is not relieved by doing so, rectal bleeding and blood in the stool, weakness and unintended weight loss,” he said. Awotunde advised that anyone above 40 years should go for regular colon cancer screening, adding that screening was very important for cancer prevention. “Through regular screening, most polyps can be found and removed before they become cancer; Screening can also result in finding colon cancer early, when it is highly curable. “Screening tests for colon cancer includes stool test, endoscopy and colonoscopy; the screening can be done once every 10 years,” he said.
He said that healthy lifestyle choices were highly important to prevent most diseases, including colon cancer. He advised that people should eat food rich in fiber like fruits, wheat, beans and vegetables, to aid the digestive system and prevent colon cancer.