Colon cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the large intestine (colon) or rectum. It is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the United States.
Symptoms of colon cancer may include:
- Blood in the stool
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
However, in early stages, colon cancer often has no symptoms. That’s why it is important to have regular screenings, such as a colonoscopy, to detect the cancer in its early stages when it is most treatable.
Risk factors for colon cancer include:
- Age (most cases occur in people over 50)
- Family history of colon cancer
- Personal history of colon polyps
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
- Lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of physical activity, and a diet high in red and processed meats
Treatment for colon cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Preventing colon cancer can be done by having regular screenings, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and getting the proper treatment if any abnormal cells are found. Some lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risk of colon cancer include:
- Eating a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Limiting red and processed meats
- Exercising regularly
- Not smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight
It is important to consult with your doctor if you have any symptoms of colon cancer or if you are at an increased risk of developing the disease. With early detection and proper treatment, the survival rate for colon cancer is quite high.