Colon cancer cases, which was previously limited to advanced ages, are rising among youths in the Sultanate of Oman and the whole world. Dr Adhari al Zaabi, a cancer researcher, said infection in 20-40 age group is severe and mainly detected at an advanced stage when treatment options are limited due to the lack of an early diagnostic examination for this age. There are no apparent symptoms that could alert the patient and the doctor.
For the Sultanate of Oman, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in females, while prostate cancer and colorectal cancer are among the most common types of cancer among males.
“The genetic causes leading to colon cancer represent only 10 per cent, while the non-genetic causes include 90 per cent, which include lifestyle, type of food, water or food contamination, lack of exercise, radiation, high cholesterol, excessive use of antibiotics and also the so-called Chinese salt”, she explained.
The doctor, who is also a Founder of Siyaj initiative concerning awareness on cancer, added that a considerable percentage of patients with this disease do not have familial genetic mutations. This category is still being studied to find out the causes and factors associated with these infections.” “In some cases, the infected have a family history of the disease, indicating genetic mutations that increase the rate of infection”, she explained. Al Zaabi advised these patients to resort to early diagnostic tests to detect the mutation causing the disease, followed by specific tests to detect the disease early. Early detection, according to her, increases the rate of complete recovery from it.
“Mutation carriers should not ignore any abnormal symptoms that could suggest changes in the colon, such as persistent constipation, weight loss, appetite and others’’, she asserted.
She indicated that millions of beneficial bacterial tribes live in the colon that maintains its function and human health. “These bacteria are very sensitive to what we eat. They like fruits, vegetables, fibre, white meat and a balanced diet. They dislike processed meat, red meat and junk food. Colon health depends a lot on the balance of these bacterial tribes”.
Studies have found that the disruption of the diet, especially among the young, has led to an imbalance in these tribes and thus weakened their ability to protect the colon, which led to an increase in the colon’s infection with mutations, and tumours. To minimise risk of catching colon cancer, doctors advise adopting healthy lifestyle, eating balanced diet, exercising and drinking plenty of water. “Go to the doctor when strange symptoms appear, such as chronic constipation, acute anaemia of unknown cause, weight loss and appetite,’’, Dr Al Zaabi added, stating that these symptoms may be similar to other diseases. However, she advised taking the necessary tests if the symptom lasted more than two weeks and did not respond to the initial treatment. She also recommended following a healthy diet to maintain the health of the digestive system.