The colon cancer survival rate is increasing due to the success of new treatments. According to a study in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, 30 percent of colon cancer patients are living for at least five years after their diagnoses. Twenty years ago, the five year colon cancer survival rate was just 8 percent.

Early detection can also improve colon cancer survival rates. Colon cancer occurs in the lower portion of the digestive system, known as the large intestine. Cancer that occurs in the last six inches of the colon is called rectal cancer. These two cancers are commonly called colorectal cancer. Colon cancer can start out as benign polyps. These polyps can eventually become cancerous and turn into colon cancer, according to Mayo Clinic.

Recognizing colon cancer symptoms can also increase a patient’s chances for survival. Colon cancer causes abdominal pain or gas, and bloody stools. Other signs of colon cancer include constant cramping, diarrhea or constipation, unexplained weight loss, pain during bowel movements, and fatigue. A person should consult a doctor after experiencing the first symptoms of colon cancer.

Vitamin D Increases Colon Cancer Survival

A diet containing Vitamin D may help improve colon cancer survival rates. Researchers involved in a study published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology came to this conclusion after analyzing 304 colon cancer patients from 1991 until 2002. Researchers looked at the patients’ blood levels to determine how much vitamin D, if any, they had in their systems. They then categorized the patients based on their vitamin D levels.

According to the study, the patients with the highest levels of vitamin D were nearly 50 percent less likely to succumb to any illness, including colon cancer. Furthermore, their risk of dying from colon cancer was nearly 40 percent lower. Researchers say that patients who are found to have symptoms of colon cancer should consult their doctors about adding vitamin D supplements to their diet.

Aspirin Helps Prevent Colon Cancer

Research suggests that people who take aspirin regularly are less likely to develop polyps. This is very important since polyps are among the leading colon cancer causes. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine  suggests that daily aspirin consumption can reduce a person’s risk for colon cancer by as much as 35 percent.

The National Cancer Institute has supported other studies that indicate that people who take aspirin and similar medications for arthritis and other conditions have fewer incidents of polyps and colorectal cancer. As a result of the findings, researchers conclude that people who are at risk for colon cancer should include aspirin as part of their prevention efforts.

Contact a gastroenterologist near you to schedule an exam. Dr. Vikram Tarugu would love to see you at his center if you are a Florida resident or visiting.