Recent Blog Articles
More movement, better memory
Improving access to hearing aids
Can mindfulness change your brain?
Five lifestyle factors that can help prevent gastroesophageal reflux disease
Transient ischemic attacks: Varied symptoms, all important
5 inflammation-fighting food swaps
Is IBD an underrecognized health problem in minority groups?
Sickle cell disease in newborns and children: What families should know and do
COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens: What we do — and don’t — know
Happy trails: Take a hike, now
The colon and the rectum—the two parts of the large intestine—are common places for cancer to occur. It is often a hidden cancer because it doesn't usually cause symptoms in its early stages.
Colon cancer affects men and women equally, usually after age 50. That's why experts recommend that adults be tested regularly for colorectal cancer after age 50. Testing is especially important for individuals who are at increased risk for developing colorectal cancer. That include those who: have had polyps (a benign growth in the colon or rectum); have a close family member with colorectal cancer; have ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease; or who eat a fatty diet or smoke.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
- diarrhea or constipation
- a feeling that the bowel isn't emptying completely
- blood in the stool
- stools that are narrower than usual
- frequently feeling full or bloated
- weight loss with no known reason
There are several ways to check for hidden colorectal cancer. The most effective test is the colonoscopy. In this test, a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end is passed through the anus and up through the rectum and colon. Any precancerous polyps can be removed during the test. A sigmoidoscopy uses a similar tube, but it is able to look into only the lower portion of the colon. A third test, the fecal occult stool test, can be done at home. It checks for blood in the stool, which can be a sign of bleeding from a colorectal polyp or cancer.
Treatments for colorectal cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of these.
Harvard finding: Aspirin tied to reduced colorectal cancer risk
Don’t delay cancer treatment during the pandemic
Certain foods and drugs may lower risk of colon cancer
The best way to beat colon cancer
Diseases & Conditions
Do hemorrhoids increase my cancer risk?