What Is Colon Cancer?
The colon, which is part of the digestive system, is the first six feet of the large intestine. The American Cancer Society estimates nearly 103,000 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed this year.
While the exact cause of colon cancer isn’t known, experts have identified several risk factors, which increase a person’s chance of getting colon cancer. These include:
- Being 50 or older
- Having a family history of colon or rectal cancer
- Having had the disease before or a history of bowel disease
In addition, smoking, being overweight, not exercising, eating a diet high in processed meats, and heavy alcohol consumption can increase risk. And remember, colon cancer can strike both men and women.
Colon Cancer Screening
Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Simple screening tests can prevent most colon cancers from spreading. The American Cancer Society and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) annually after age 50 to aid in the early detection of colorectal cancer or its precursors—polyps, diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease. Other tests for colorectal cancer are recommended for different time periods with at least one of the following done on a regular basis:
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- Virtual colonoscopy every 10 years
- Double contrast barium enema every five years
Treatment Options for Colon Cancer
Most people with colon cancer will have some type of surgery. Additional treatments may also be used. Chemotherapy (anticancer drugs in addition to surgery or radiation) for colon cancer may also be used.
Colon Cancer Treatment
Treatment depends on the stage and location of the colon cancer. A small growth of abnormal cells may be removed through a colonoscope. Cancer at a regional stage that has not spread to nearby lymph nodes will require surgical resection of the colon segment containing the tumor, but probably no additional treatments (like radiation or chemotherapy). Treatment decisions should be made by the patient with his or her physician.
Why Parrish Medical Center?
Parrish Medical Center is where experience and healing unite in harmony and become a symphony of hope. Certified, with commendation, by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, PMC’s Cancer Care program provides the finest cancer-fighting treatments and techniques.