Colon or colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. Most colon cancers start as abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum. These become cancers over a long period of time. Colon cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups. It is most often found in people older than 50.
The exact cause of most colon cancers is not yet known.
Signs & Symptoms
Colon cancers do not always show symptoms, especially at first. You could have abnormal growths or cancer in your colon and not know it. That is why it is important to get screened regularly.
If there are symptoms they may include:
- blood in or on your stool
- stomach pains, aches or cramps that don’t go away
- losing weight without a reason.
There may be abnormal growths in your colon for years before it becomes cancer. Colorectal cancer screenings can find these abnormal growths so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening can find colon cancer early, when there is a better chance that treatment will be effective. Some studies show that you can reduce your risk of getting colon cancer by exercising, eating fruits and vegetables, drinking less alcohol and not smoking.
The three standard colon cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Your healthcare provider will be able to tell you which one is best for you.