Colon Cancer Facts

Colorectal cancer, or cancer of the colon or rectum, is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Each year, it claims more than 53,500 lives. An estimated 145,000 men and women will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year alone. However, colon and rectal cancer can often be prevented with proper screening. Found in its earliest stages, colon cancer is survived by almost 90 percent of patients.

Cancer Facts

What are the Symptoms?

Colon cancer symptoms can be confusing. Common stomach ailments or a change in bowel habits are common occurrences. But they don’t always mean that you have a serious condition such as colon cancer. There are several signs that should warrant concern and be evaluated by a physician.

Cancer Symptoms

What is a colon cancer “stage”?

“Staging” a cancer is a way to talk about where in the body a cancer is and how much it has grown or spread. All cancers are “staged” I-IV. The stage of a cancer will help your doctor determine the correct steps for your treatment.

Colon Cancer Stages

What are my screening options?

If you are age 45 or older and have never been screened, start now. For those with a family history of colon cancer, talk to your doctor about how often and at what age to begin screening.  Colon cancer can occur at any age. Ask your doctor about when you should begin screening and what options are best for you. Screening for colorectal cancer can be done through in-person and visual screening at a medical facility, or in the privacy of your own home.

Colon Cancer Screening Options

Who is at Risk?

Both men and women are equally at risk for colon cancer. The cancer is most common among people aged 50 and older but can occur in patients as young as teenagers. Over 75 percent of colon and rectal cancers happen to people with no known risk factors, which is why regular screening is so important. A personal or family history of colon cancer or colon polyps can increase the risk of developing colon cancer.

More Risk Factors

Minority Health and Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer affects men and women equally and impacts people of all nationalities and ethnic groups. Unfortunately, not all are impacted at the same rates.

Minority Colorectal Cancer Risk

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Information on these pages is provided for informational purposes only. Consult your own physician before making any medical decisions.