Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the colon or rectum. It is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world and the 2nd cause of cancer related deaths each year. Despite its prevalence, colon cancer can be prevented and treated if detected early.
It usually starts as a small, noncancerous growth called a polyp. Over time, some polyps can develop into cancer. Colon cancer can spread to other parts of the body if not treated.
Colorectal cancer might not cause symptoms right away, but if it does, it may cause one or more of these symptoms:
However, many people with colon cancer may not experience any symptoms in the early stages, which is why screening for colon cancer is so important.
Several test options are available for colorectal cancer screening:
These tests can detect precancerous polyps or early-stage colon cancer, which can be treated before they become more advanced.
People at increased or high risk of colorectal cancer might need to start colorectal cancer screening before age 45, be screened more often, and/or get specific tests. This includes people with:
Lifestyle factors, such as physical inactivity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, can also increase the risk of colon cancer.
Preventing colon cancer involves making healthy lifestyle choices, such as maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and getting regular exercise. It is also important to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
If you are diagnosed with colon cancer, treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. The type of treatment recommended will depend on the stage and location of the cancer, as well as your overall health.
Colon cancer is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can be prevented and treated if detected early. It is important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors for colon cancer and to undergo regular screening if you are at risk. Making healthy lifestyle choices can also help reduce your risk of developing colon cancer. If you have any concerns about colon cancer or any other health issue, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider.