Cancers happens when cells grow and divide uncontrollably in the body without dying.
The colon or large intestine is one bodily organ that can develop cancers, known as colon cancer.
Colon or large intestine is where the body extracts water and salt from solid wastes. The waste then moves through the rectum and exits the body through the anus.
Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps can become colon cancers.
The great majority of people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50. Colon cancer can occur in younger people, but it occurs much less frequently.
People who are obese have an increased risk of colon cancer compared with people considered normal weight.
If you’re inactive, you’re more likely to develop colon cancer. Therefore getting regular physical activity may reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, but when symptoms appear, they’ll likely vary, depending on the cancer’s size and location in your large intestine.
Colon cancer and rectal cancer may occur together. This is called colorectal cancer. Rectal cancer originates in the rectum, which is the last several inches of the large intestine, closest to the anus.
The American Cancer Society suggests colonoscopy examination for early detection of colon cancer, as it is the most accurate method.
It visualizes the entire colon and allows the surgeon to remove polyps during the procedure. If polyps are found in the colon, they are removed and sent to a pathologist for biopsy, an examination under a microscope that detects cancerous or precancerous cells.
People with an average risk of colon cancer can consider screening beginning at age 50.
People with an increased risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer, should consider screening sooner.
Some medications have been found to reduce the risk of precancerous polyps or colon cancer (consult your doctor for advise). However, not enough evidence exists to recommend these medications to people who have an average risk of colon cancer. These options are generally reserved for people with a high risk of colon cancer.