APPENDIX CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Appendiceal cancer (Appendix Cancer) is a relatively rare type of cancer that happens when healthy cells develop from the appendix and change and grow out of control. The appendix is a small pouch-like tube attached to the colon which is part of the intestines and is thought to be carrying out some immune functions.1
Although appendix cancer and colon cancer are genetically separate, both types of cancer are on the rise.
There are two main types of appendiceal cancer: 2
- Epithelial appendiceal cancer
- Neuroendocrine appendiceal cancer
It is more common in people between the ages of 50 and 55 years old but may happen at any age.2
Appendix cancer symptoms and signs:3
Appendix cancer can cause no symptoms in some people. When warning signs appear, they can differ depending on the individual. Symptoms of appendix cancer may include:
- Appendicitis (swellingor infection of the appendix)
- Ascites (fluid present in the abdomen)
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Increased size of the waistline
- Changes in bowel function
- Fertility problems
Risk factors for Appendix cancer:4
Age- The only consistent risk factor for various types of appendix cancer is increasing age. It is rare in children.
Gender- Women are more likely to develop carcinoid tumors than men.
Smoking– Tobacco use can increase the chances of developing all cancerincluding appendixcancer. It raises the risk of developing appendix cancer more than non-smokers.
Family history- Patients with a relative who has or has had appendix cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome have a higher risk.
Medical history- Those with a history of certain medical conditions that affect the stomach’s ability to produce acids, such as atrophic gastritis, pernicious anemia, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, are at an increased risk for appendix cancer.
Most epithelial appendiceal cancers can cause a build-up of mucin, which further leads the appendix to rupture. When mucin from the appendix builds up in the abdomen, it causes a condition called pseudomyxomaperitonei, or PMP.2
Appendix cancer cause complications, such as bowel obstruction (blockage of the bowel), abdominal pain, and blood clots.
Cancer prevention is an action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. In general, one can lower their chances of appendix cancer with some key lifestyle choices:
- Skip tobacco
Quit tobacco and smoking. Learn about avoiding appendix cancer risk factors.
- Stay a healthy weight
Maintain a healthy weight to reduce the risk of cancer.
- Get regular exercise
Regular exercise and physical activity may lower cancer risk by helping control weight. It is important tofit in at least 30 minutes of activity every day. Choose activities you enjoy. Many things count asexercise, like walking, gardening, and dancing.
- Stick to the balanced diet
Peak a balanced diet that includes lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.Cut down on processed and red meat, alcohol, and high-calorie foods and drinks.Choose smaller portions, eat more slowly and limitsugary drinks.
- Get screening tests
Several important screening tests can help protect against cancer. Some of these testsfind cancer early when it is more treatable.
Appendix Cancer Awareness Month promotes a global effort to raise awareness aboutappendix cancer to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients. As a result, the month of August is celebratedas Appendix Cancer Awareness Month.
Living with appendix cancer can be difficult daily, much like the treatment. The patient’s quality of life can be enhanced by employing strategies like symptom management and maintaining mental and physical well-being.
- Appendix Cancer, Available at: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/appendix-cancer/introduction, last accessed on 6th August 2022
- Appendiceal Cancer, Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/pediatric-adult-rare-tumor/rare-tumors/rare-digestive-system-tumors/appendiceal-cancer, last accessed on 6th August 2022
- Appendix Cancer, Available at:https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/appendix-cancer/symptoms-and-signs, last accessed on 6th August 2022
- Appendix cancer risk factors, Cancer Treatment Centre of America Available at: https://www.cancercenter.com/cancer-types/appendix-cancer/risk-factors, last accessed on 6th August 2022
- Mayoclinic, Cancer prevention: 7 tips to reduce your risk, Available at:https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/cancer-prevention/art-20044816, last accessed on 6th August 2022