Colon Cancer or Colorectal Cancer
What is Colon Cancer?
Many people use the term colon cancer, but the official name is colorectal cancer, meaning cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States after lung cancer. Most of these deaths could have been avoided by getting screened. While colorectal cancer can occur at any age, more than 90% of patients are over the age of 40. The risk then doubles every ten years.
How does colorectal cancer start?
The general consensus is that nearly all colon and rectal cancer begins in benign polyps. Polyps are abnormal growths rising from the lining of the large intestine (colon or rectum). These polyps can be flat or have a stalk, and they protrude into the intestinal canal.
The Benefit of Having a Colonoscopy
The benefit of having a colonoscopy is that polyps can be found and removed during the colonoscopy procedure. Since there is no fool-proof way to tell whether a benign polyp will turn malignant, the advice has been to remove the polyp. Once the polyp is removed, the recurrence is highly unusual. However, the same factors that caused the polyp can still be present.
It is estimated that 30% of people who have previously had polyps will develop new polyps. When detected early enough, 80-90% of people are restored to normal health. That percentage drops to 50% or less in the late stages. Colon Cancer Symptoms