After suffering for years with stomach pains, 39-year-old Australian Matt Best discovered that acid reflux, repeatedly diagnosed by doctors, was actually cancer. A colonoscopy test revealed an orange-sized tumor in her large intestine.
Before the correct diagnosis, the man believed that pain was caused by too much alcohol and high-fat foods. He only turned on the warning signal after feeling weak at the gym. That’s when he decided to have a blood test and the results showed he was anemic – a sign of bowel cancer often overlooked by doctors.
Anemia is caused by three things: red blood cell breakdown, blood loss and decreased red blood cell production due to iron deficiency. The latter can be an early warning sign of cancer that is often overlooked because it can be caused by a myriad of other conditions, including menstruation and pregnancy. However, iron deficiency is uncommon among men.
According to Matt, the bowel cancer was in stage 3. This means that it had spread to the tissue and lymph nodes around the intestine, but not to nearby organs. “I was shocked, confused, numb, I had 4,000 questions,” recalls Matt, in an interview with the Daily Mail.
Bowel cancer involves tumors that start in the part of the large intestine called the colon and in the rectum (the end of the intestine, just before the anus) and anus. It is also known as colon and rectal or colorectal cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute (INCA), the disease is treatable and, in most cases, curable, when detected early, when it has not yet spread to other organs.
Early symptoms of bowel cancer can be confused with common complaints, causing many people to ignore warning signs and thus delay diagnosis.
Bowel cancer can cause anemia because tumors release chemicals that stimulate the formation of new blood vessels. As tumors grow, the vessel ruptures, leading to the loss of red blood cells.
In addition to anemia, symptoms may include:
- stomach cramps
- Blood or mucus in stool
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss without apparent cause
how to prevent
Healthy eating, maintaining body weight and engaging in activities are the triad of bowel cancer prevention, according to experts. A healthy diet consists mainly of fresh and minimally processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, beans and other legumes, grains and seeds.
In addition, INCA recommends avoiding the consumption of processed meat (eg sausage, bologna, sausage, ham, bacon, turkey blanquet, turkey breast, salami) and limiting the consumption of red meat to 500 grams of cooked meat per week .
Not smoking and not being exposed to smoking also help to prevent this type of cancer.