Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells grow erratically within the body. When this happens in the colon or rectum, the terminal ends of the gastrointestinal system, it is referred to as colorectal cancer or colon cancer.
Men and women of all races can be at risk for colon cancer, most especially when they reach the age of 50 and above.
Colon cancer ranks as the third most common cancer in the United States; and the second deadliest among cancers that affect both men and women in the country. However, early screening and detection of colorectal cancer can prevent people dying from the disease. Colonoscopy, or the visual examination of the rectum and colon with the use of a scope, can find and remove polyps, which are abnormal growths that can turn cancerous in the long run. Early stage detection catches the disease when treatment works best, and 90% of patients diagnosed and treated early have been found to have a good chance of surviving the illness past 5 years.
Knowing and understanding the signs and symptoms that usually accompany colon cancer can give you a better chance of detecting the disease early. If you suspect that your symptoms mimic any of the 23 in this list, reach out to your doctor for a screening.