Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum, also referred to as Colon Cancer or Rectal Cancer depending on the location of the cancer. It is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancers that affect both men and women. Colorectal cancer affects people of all racial and ethnic groups and is the most common in people age 50 and older.
There is no clear cause of colon cancer however, with regular screenings 6 out of 10 deaths can be prevented.
Here are some signs and symptoms to look for:
- Change in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation, change in consistency of stool that lasts for longer than 4 weeks.
- Rectal bleeding or blood in stool
- Persistent abdominal discomfort such as cramps, gas or pain
- A feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
Other risk factors can include but not limited to obesity, smoking, alcohol, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, low-fiber, high-fat diet, inflammatory intestinal condition, and personal history with polyps. African American have a greater risk of colon cancer than do other races.
Remember this cancer can be prevented, when you notice any of the above symptoms do not hesitated to speak with your Primary Physician. The general guidelines recommend colon cancer screenings to begin at 50, however if there are other risk factors such as family history then screenings should start earlier and more frequent.