Colorectal cancer is the third most common, and one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths, in the United States. That's the bad news. The good news is that colorectal cancers are easily detectable and, when diagnosed early, can be completely wiped out.
Are You at a Higher Risk for Colon Cancer?
There is no single known cause of colon cancer as they almost always begin as benign polyps, which, overtime slowly develop into cancer. You are at a higher risk of colon cancer if:
- Are 60 years of age or older
- Are African American or of eastern European descent
- Regularly eat red or processed meats
- Have colorectal polyps
- Suffer from Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis
- Smoke cigarettes
- Regularly drink alcohol
- Have a family history of colon cancer
While colon cancer often does not show any signs and symptoms, any of the following may indicate colon cancer.
- Abdomen pain and tenderness, particularly in the lower abdomen
- Bloody and/or narrow stool
- Changes in bowel habits
- Sudden weight loss
Early detection, even before any symptoms show, is critical as it's when colon cancer is the most curable. Screening is the most effective way to diagnose colorectal cancer. Noncancerous polyps that are found during the colonoscopy are removed to prevent cancer. If cancer is detected, a carefully crafted treatment plan will be configured.
Only a full colonoscopy can see the entire colon.
Colon cancer, depending on several factors, including its stage, is treated by all, or a combination of:
- Targeted Therapy