Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer or CRC, is a type of cancer that starts in the colon. The most common symptoms for this form of cancer include:
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea.
- Rectal bleeding.
- Abdominal cramping and pain (especially after eating).
Colorectal cancer is considered the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with over 50,000 people dying from it each year.
The Leading Causes of Colon Cancer
Several factors can increase a person’s risk of developing CRC. Some of the leading causes of this type of cancer include:
- Age: Colon cancer is most commonly diagnosed in people over 50.
- Race: Colorectal cancer is more common in African Americans and Hispanics than in whites.
- Family History: People who have a family history of CRC are at greater risk of developing the disease.
- Polyps: Colon polyps are small, wart-like growths that can form on the colon’s lining. Polyps can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Nearly all cases of colon cancer start as a benign polyp that turns into cancer over time.
- Diet: A diet high in fat and calories and low in fiber is thought to increase the risk for colon cancer.
- Obesity: Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, including colon cancer.
- Smoking: Cigarette smoking has been linked to an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
How To Prevent Colon Cancer
There are several things people can do to reduce their risk of developing CRC. Some of the most critical include:
- Eating a healthy diet: A healthy diet is essential for preventing many diseases, including colon cancer. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in saturated fat and sodium is recommended for reducing the risk of cancer. Limiting alcohol intake and avoiding processed foods are also important.
- Exercising regularly: Exercising regularly is one of the most important things people can do to reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer. Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, which is a risk factor for many diseases, including cancer. Exercise also helps reduce inflammation in the body, which can contribute to cancer development.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things people can do to reduce their risk of developing CRC. Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, including cancer. Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet are essential for maintaining a healthy weight.
- Not smoking: Cigarette smoking has been linked to an increased risk for colon cancer. This is just one more reason to quit smoking. There are many health benefits to quitting smoking, including reducing the risk for cancer. Quitting smoking also lowers heart disease, stroke, and many other diseases.
- Limiting alcohol intake: People who drink alcohol are at risk for developing colorectal cancer. Alcohol consumption can increase the risk for many diseases, including cancer. It is important to limit alcohol intake to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal cramping and pain (especially after eating)
Colorectal cancer is a deadly disease that affects thousands of people each year. It starts in the colon and can affect anyone, regardless of age or race. Colon polyps are the most common cause of this type of cancer, which starts off as benign growths and turns into malignant over time.
Colorectal cancer symptoms include unexplained weight loss, chronic constipation or diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramping and pain, and fatigue. Colon cancer can be deadly, but it can also be prevented. There are several things people can do to reduce their risk of developing CRC, including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things a person can do for their health.