The digestive system is a very complex but efficient system that allows the intake and disposal of material that allows the body to perform routine daily activities. The digestive system allows the intake of food and water to be broken down to be used for energy. The digestive system is made up of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, colon and the rectum. A Potential life-threatening disease of the digestive system is color-rectal cancer. Color-rectal cancer is a developing polyp or tumor of the lining of the digestive tract. This particular type of cancer is usually 90% curable if detected early. Color-rectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths each year. There are 150,000 newly diagnosed patients each year and an average of 60,000 deaths associated with color-rectal cancer per year (2006). Patient education is very important to prevent many unnecessary deaths related to colon cancer.
Patient 's at risk for developing colon cancer:
Family history of colon cancer
History of diverticulitis
Age (patient 's over 50)
Diet high in red meat
Men have higher incidence
Color-rectal cancer is a dangerous disease because many of the symptoms associated go undetected for years. Polyps of the digestive system can take 5-15 years to develop into cancer (Monahan & neighbors, 1998) it is very important to recognize the signs and symptoms related to colon cancer.
Signs and Symptoms related to colon cancer:
Routine tests and examinations for patients
Colonoscopy (Age 50)
Fecal occult blood test (Every year starting at age 50)
Sigmoidoscopy (Every 5 years after age 50)
Routine Primary care physician physicals (yearly)
The colon is the final staging area for digestion and the third most common
References: (2006, March 10, 2006). Cancer Facts & Figures. Retrieved March 31, 2006, from www. cancer.org Jarvis, C. (2004). Physical Examination & Health Assessment (Fourth Ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Saunders. Monahan, F. D., & Neighbors, M. (1998). Medical-Surgical Nursing, Foundations for Clinical Practice (2nd Ed.). Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders. Smoots, E. (2003, December, 2003). Colon Health. Body Bulletin, 4, 3. Retrieved March 31, 2006.