What is Colon Cancer? What are Colon Cancer Symptoms?
- Also referred to as colorectal cancer
- Occurs in the colon (or large intestine) or in the rectum
- Often develops slowly
- Second-leading cause of cancer mortalities in men and women combined in the United States
Before cancer develops, an abnormal growth called a polyp may develop on the inner lining of the large intestine or rectum. While polyps are common and typically don’t cause symptoms, some are dangerous and can turn into cancer over time. What are the symptoms of colon cancer? Colon cancer often has no obvious signs or symptoms in its early stages. By the time colon cancer symptoms show themselves, in many cases the cancer has advanced to a later stage. If you experience any of the following colon cancer symptoms, see your doctor immediately:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by having one
- Blood in your stool
- Cramping or stomach pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unexpected weight loss
Can you prevent colon cancer?
Colon cancer is one of the most preventable, yet least prevented, cancers in the US today. It is the third most diagnosed cancer, and second leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women 50 years of age and older. Despite these facts, colon cancer is one of the most treatable cancers if it is found early through screening.
Yet, 1 in 3 adults 50 years of age or older is still not getting screened as recommended. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, regular screening is worthwhile, because it can:
- Find polyps
- Find colon cancer early, when it is highly treatable
- Alert you to changes in your colon