Colon Cancer

What is it?

Colon cancer is a malignant growth on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. A person may have few if any symptoms, which is why cancer can be lurking in the colon for years.

Who's at Risk?

Young adults are occasionally diagnosed with colon cancer, but it most often develops in both men and women who are over 40 years old. Researchers have discovered a specific genetic mutation that may contribute to a person’s risk of colon cancer. Insufficient dietary fiber may play a role in colon polyp formation and colon cancer.

An increased risk of colon cancer is found in people with a family history of cancer in these areas of the body: the colon, rectum, breast, or female organs. People with a history of ulcers in the lining of the large intestines (ulcerative colitis) or polyps in other areas of the body should be screened at an earlier age.


Symptoms include changes in bowel habits, pain in the abdomen, unexplained weight loss, and rectal bleeding. Colon cancer first develops as a small benign polyp within the colon. Malignant cells develop within the polyps, and if left untreated, the cancerous cells can invade surrounding tissues and spread throughout the body.


The most accurate test for diagnosing colon cancer is colonoscopy. Other diagnostic tests include a digital rectal exam, sigmoidoscopy, CT scan, or barium enema. Men and women who are over age 50 should have a screening test for this type of cancer.

When colon cancer is found, the chance of recovery and how to treat the disease depends on whether or not the cancer is confined to the inner lining of the colon or if it has spread to other areas, as well as the person’s general state of health.

Colon Cancer Health Tips Video

This condition is the formation of cancerous growths in the colon (called colon cancer) and in the rectum (called rectal cancer).