Colon Cancer: Risk and Prevention

Colon Cancer Awareness

It is “Colon Cancer Awareness” month, so thought I’d share some words on this common cancer which we at The Village Doctor aim to prevent through regular doctor visits with an emphasis on prevention and early colon cancer screening as appropriate for your age and risk factors.

Note that colorectal cancer, which includes both colon and rectal cancer, is one of the most common cancers in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the US in 2023.

Colon cancer specifically is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the US, after lung and prostate (in men) and lung and breast (in women) cancers. In 2022, it is estimated that there were about 104,270 new cases of colon cancer and about 52,980 deaths from the disease.

This type of cancer usually develops from benign growths called polyps in the colon. It can take many years for these polyps to become cancerous, which is why regular screening is recommended, especially for people over the age of 50, and for certain others over the age of 45 (or even younger depending on your family history).

Risk factors for colon cancer include age, family history of the disease, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, a diet high in red or processed meats, physical inactivity, obesity, smoking, and heavy alcohol use. Symptoms of this cancer may include changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss.

Treatment for colon cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these treatments, depending on the stage of cancer and other factors.  Early detection through screening can greatly improve the chances of successful treatment and survival.

If you have other questions or concerns, please discuss with your doctor at The Village Doctor. Most importantly, be sure you complete your routine screening for this common cancer!

Call The Village Doctor at (650) 851-4747 or Contact us to learn more about the practice.
Read Also: Breast Cancer Screening Edited by: Eric Weiss, MD, March 3, 2023