What is Colon Cancer?

March 27, 2015

Colon cancer, which occurs in the colon or rectum, is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, according to the Colon Cancer Prevention Project. 

Who Gets Colon Cancer?

The risk of getting colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer, increases with age. Men and women over the age of 50 are most likely to be diagnosed. 

How Can Colon Cancer be Prevented?

Colon cancer can be prevented with early detection by a proper screening, which is typically a colonoscopy. If results from the colonoscopy show that you have polyps, they can be removed and prevent cancer from developing. 

You can help reduce your risk of getting colon cancer through a healthy lifestyle that includes:

  • Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention. 
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. For women this means one drink per day, for men this means two.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. 

What are the Signs of Colon Cancer?

If you have any of the following symptoms, we recommend you contact your doctor:

  • Change in bowel habits that lasts for more than a few days.
  • Feeling like you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Blood in the stool.
  • Cramping or abdominal pain.
  • Weakness and fatigue.
  • Unintended weight loss. 

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As of March 1, 2023