Colon and Rectal Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors and Treatments

What is Colon and Rectal Cancer?

Colon cancer forms in the tissues of the colon (the longest part of the large intestine). Most colon cancers are adenocarcinomas which start in the cells that produce and release mucus and other bodily fluids.

Those who eat a lot of processed foods are more at risk of getting colon cancer. This is because healthy foods or foods that have not been over-cooked contain important enzymes which help in the digestion of the food. Processed foods are devoid of these enzymes and as a result, the body has problems in processing them.

Signs And Symptoms For Colon And Rectal Cancer

Symptoms of colorectal cancer may include:

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Blood in your stools
  • Bowel obstruction (rare) by the tumor
  • Often, the symptoms are much less specific: Anemia, with symptoms such as tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Enlargement of the liver (Hepatomegaly) due to spreading of the tumor

Causes and Risk Factors of Colorectal Cancer

With Colon/Rectal cancer, there are a number of risk factors that you should be aware of.

These may include:

  • Diet – Those who have a diet containing a lot of red meat or processed meats such as ham, sausages, bacon, and pate etc. are more at risk
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Age – As you get older you are more at risk.
  • Low in fiber – Those who do not eat a lot of fiber are more at risk.
  • History of ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease
  • Family syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC, also called Lynch syndrome)
  • Type 2 Diabetes

5 Year Survival Rates

[table id=11 /]

Recommended Treatment for Colorectal Cancer

For further information on available treatments, please see our recommended colorectal cancer treatment page.

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