While most colon cancer symptoms are similar in severity across genders, some, such as abdominal cramping, low energy, and excessive weariness, can be misdiagnosed as menstrual symptoms.
Kirstie Alley passed away on December 6, 2022, due to colon cancer, and now, her death is bringing attention to the illness and the value of early detection, per PEOPLE. According to a statement released by her daughters, the actress only found out she had cancer a short while before her death. "We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce, and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered," they said in the moving statement announcing their mother's death.
"She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead," Kirstie's children added. "As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother." They recalled her joy and passion for living life, as well as her love for her numerous dogs and her craft.
After breast and lung cancers, colorectal or colon cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide. Despite having a somewhat lower risk than men, 1 in 25 American women may be diagnosed with the condition at some point in their life.
Fight CRC, a national colorectal cancer advocacy organization that emphasizes the need for early detection through screening, shared that the frequency of new cases among those under 50 has been on the rise since the mid-1990s, even though nearly 90% of colon cancer cases affect people over 50. But when colon cancer is detected and treated early, before it spreads outside the large intestine or rectum, patients have a better shot at recovery.
We lost Kirstie Alley to colon cancer- I would urge everyone reading this tweet to consult your doctor about colon cancer screening. I have had 2 colonoscopies in my life, and I have to tell you, it is no big deal, and it can give you peace of mind.— Ron Milner (@RonMilnerBoodle) December 6, 2022
Adults who are 45 years or older are advised by the American Cancer Society to undergo routine colonoscopies or stool tests to detect colon cancer. They also advise anyone experiencing symptoms of colon cancer, like altered bowel habits, including increased diarrhea, rectal bleeding, dark stools, sudden weight loss, cramping, and excessive fatigue, to see a doctor. The society, however, highlights the importance of preventive screenings because these symptoms ordinarily don't show up until colon cancer has already spread.
While most colon cancer symptoms are similar in severity across genders, some, such as abdominal cramping, low energy, and excessive weariness, can be misdiagnosed as menstrual symptoms, according to Healthline. If a woman experiences these symptoms for the first time, be it during her cycle or not, she is advised to speak with her doctor.
Women should also be aware that the risk of all cancers rises after menopause. Additionally, women who have had benign polyps in the past face higher risks of cancerous polyps forming later on. Furthermore, 25% of those who are diagnosed with the disease have a family history, states Fight CRC. Therefore, screening should be done for anybody with a family history of colorectal cancer at least ten years before the age the youngest affected relative was diagnosed at. A colonoscopy will likely be required every five years after the first test.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Robin Marchant