What is Colon Cancer?
- Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the colon which is the final part of the digestive tract. Colon cancer is preventable and highly curable if detected in early stages.
- Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined in the United States.
- Colon cancer typically affects older adults, though it can happen at any age. It usually begins as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time some of these polyps can become colon cancers.
- Polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. For this reason, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by identifying and removing polyps before they turn into cancer.
- If colon cancer develops, many treatments are available to help control it, including surgery, radiation therapy and drug treatments, such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
- Colon cancer is sometimes called colorectal cancer, which is a term that combines colon cancer and rectal cancer, which begins in the rectum.
- According to the American Cancer Society “If 80% of adults 50 and older were up-to-date on screening by 2018, an estimated 277,000 colon and rectal cancer cases and 203,000 deaths would be averted by 2030.”
- In March 2014, American Cancer Society released data showing colon cancer incidence rates have dropped 30% in the U.S. in the last 10 years among adults ages 50 and older due to the widespread uptake of colonoscopy, with the largest decrease occurring in those ages 65 and older.
- In January of 2013, the American Cancer Society reported a 30% decrease in the mortality rate for colorectal cancer.
- There has been a decline in lives lost to cancer (1991 to 2009) and we have seen a 30% decrease in the mortality rate for colorectal cancer.
- The likelihood of dying from colorectal cancer has been decreasing due to screening.
- There are more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States.
- Over 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be avoided with screening.
Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:
- A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
- A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms appear, they’ll likely vary, depending on the cancer’s size and location in your large intestine.
When to See a Doctor:
Talk with your doctor about when to begin colon cancer screening. Guidelines generally recommend that colon cancer screenings begin around 50. Your doctor may recommend more frequent or earlier screening if you have other risk factors, such as a family history of the disease. In addition, if you notice any persistent symptoms that worry you, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor.
Questions About Colon Cancer?
Call Dr. Robert Ripley: 928-668-5506
This information is meant to be informative but not prescriptive. Their purpose is to provide information on diseases and processes, rather than dictate a specific form of diagnosis or treatment. The ultimate judgment regarding the propriety of any specific procedure must be made by the physician after all the circumstances are presented by the individual patient.