Cancer of the colon or rectum is also called colorectal cancer. In the United States, it is the fourth most common cancer in men and women. Caught early, it is often curable.
It is more common in people over 50, and the risk increases with age. You are also more likely to get it if you have
- Polyps - growths inside the colon and rectum that may become cancerous
- A diet that is high in fat
- A family history or personal history of colorectal cancer
- Ulcerative colitis or Crohn´s disease
Symptoms can include blood in the stool, narrower stools, a change in bowel habits and general stomach discomfort. However, you may not have symptoms at first, so screening is important. Everyone who is 50 or older should be screened for colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy is one method that your doctor can use to screen for colorectal cancer. Treatments for colorectal cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination.
For more information, visit http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/colorectalcancer.html.