Toppick Media Editor Jun 29, 2019 567 Views   0 Comments


Colon cancer (commonly referred to as colorectal cancer) is preventable and highly curable if detected in early stages. The colon is the first 4 to 5 feet of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer tumors grow in the colon's inner lining. 

Facts and Stats

- In 2017, nearly $36,000 new cases of  colorectal cancer were expected to be diagnosed in the U.S.

- About 1 in 20 (5%) Americans will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime.

- Colorectal polyps (benign abnormal growths) affect about 20% to 30% of American adults.

Risk Factors

The exact cause of colorectal cancer is unknown the following factors can increase one's risk of colorectal cancer.

- Age: More than 90% of people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer after age 50.

- Family history of colorectal cancer (especially parents or siblings).

- Personal history of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis for eight years or longer.

- Colorectal polyps.

- Personal history of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer. 


Colorectal cancer is preventable. Nearly all cases of colorectal cancer develop from polyps. They start in the inner lining of the colon and most often affect the left side of the colon. Detection and removal of polyps through colonoscopy reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer screenirig recommendations are based on medical and family history. Screening typically starts at age 50 in patients with average risk. Those at higher risk are usually advised to receive their first screening at a younger age. While it is not definitive, there is some evidence that diet may play a significant role in preventing colorectal cancer. A diet high in fiber (whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts) and low in fat is the only dietary measure that may help prevent colorectal cancer. 

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms 

Colorectal cancer often causes no symptoms and is detected during routine screenings. Screening and Surveillance for Colorectal Cancer Colorectal cancer symptoms include: 

- A change in bowel habits (e.g. constipation or diarrhea).

- Narrow shaped stools. 

- Bright red or very dark blood in the stool.

- Ongoing pelvic or lower abdominal pain (e.g., gas, bloating or pain).

- Unexplained weight loss. 

- Nausea or vomiting.

- Feeling tired all the time

Abdominal pain and weight loss are typically late symptoms, indicating possible extensive disease. Anyone who experiences any of the above symptoms should see a physician as soon as possible. Colon or rectal cancer, (commonly referred to as colorectal cancer), affects the colon (large intestine) or rectum (bottom 6 inches of the colon). Colo rectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer, excluding skin cancers.

Why Should People Be Screened?

Colorectal cancer rarely causes symptoms in its early stages. It usually starts out as a benign colorectal polyp. These polyps are commonly found during standard screening exams of the colon and rectum. While the majority of polyps will not become cancer, certain types hiay be precancerous. Having polyps removed reduces a person's future risk of colorectal cancer. 

Screening Tests  

Fecal occult blood testing and flexible sigmoidoscopy are often used together to screen for colorectal cancer. However, colonoscopy is considered the “gold standard” screening test and is the preferred method unless medical problems prevent it.

Fecal occult blood testing A simple test that detects invisible amounts of blood in multiple stool samples. If blood is found it may be a sign of a colorectal polyp or cancer. If the test  positive, a colonoscopy is needed.


Examination of the entire colon with a long, thin flexible tube with a camera and a light on the end (colonoscope). This allows physicians to see not only the entire colon but also to remove polyps at thev same time.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Examination of the rectum and lower colon with a flexible lighted instrument if an abnormality is found, a colonoscopy is needed.

Air-contrast Barium Enema 

During this X-ray test, the colon is filled with air and contrast (dye) to make the lining visible. It is used primarily if a complete colonoscopy cannot be done.

Virtual Colonoscopy

This test uses computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to create a 3-D picture of the inside lining of the colon and rectum. If abnormalities are found. a colonoscopy is needed. It is also useful when a colonoscopy in incomplete. However, most insurance plans and Medicare may not cover this procedure. 

Screening Recommendaons 

As part of a colorectal cancer screening program, colonoscopy is routinely recommended for adults starting at age 50. Having a colonoscopy every 10 years is standard practice. Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years with annual stool occult blood testing is an acceptable option when colonoscopy cannot be done. 

- People with a close relative (parent or sibling) with colorectal cancer or polyps should start screening at age 40 or 10 years before the youngest age at which a relative was diagnosed. These screenings should be done every five years, even if the 

test was normal.

- Less common types of inherited colon cancer (e.g., hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer and familial adenomatous polyposis) may require far more frequent screening, starting at a much younger age.

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