Although lung cancer tends to get a greater degree of media coverage, colorectal cancer ranks third among the most prevalent conditions. Colon and rectal cancers are commonly grouped together as simply “colon” cancer, and more than 145,000 combined cases are diagnosed annually.

Men are diagnosed at a rate of approximately 1 in 22 and women 1 in 24. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 51,000 will lose their lives to colon cancer this year alone. Fortunately, there are precautions that everyday people can take to lower your risk. Our team of medical professionals at the Maimonides Cancer Center in Brooklyn, NY, hope this information about colon cancer will help you better understand the condition.

1. Colon Cancer Symptoms

A reported 90 percent of all colon cancer cases are diagnosed in people 50 and older. The risk of colon cancer has been widely linked to age, although cases do present in younger patients. Consistent with other forms, colon cancer tends to be difficult to detect in its earliest stages.

Although these are some telltale symptoms you should be aware of, they are not necessarily early warning signs. They include the following.

  • Ongoing Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Continuous Narrowing of the Stool
  • Feeling Unrelieved After a Bowel Movement
  • Rectal Bleeding
  • Blood in Your Stool
  • Abdominal Cramping and/or Pain
  • Ongoing Fatigue or Weakness
  • Abnormal Drop in Body Weight.

If you have any of these symptoms, promptly schedule an examination with our cancer center in Brooklyn, NY.

2. Colon Cancer Risk Factors

While lung cancer is routinely linked to issues such as cigarette smoking and asbestos exposure, colon cancer has a broad range of contributing factors. For example, statistics point to obesity increasing the risk by 30 percent and lowering the chance of a positive outcome. Smokers are also at a 14-percent higher risk of dying from the condition.

Those who have a parent or sibling with colon cancer are considered to be at higher risk. And, conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and hereditary diseases such as Lynch Syndrome place you in a high-risk group. The key to a positive outcome from colon cancer remains early detection.

3. Colon Cancer Screenings Could Save Your Life

It is not uncommon for colon cancer to only show symptoms after it has significantly advanced. That’s why organizations such as the American Cancer Society urge people to undergo a screening by at least 45 years old, if not younger. Regular colon cancer screenings are by far the best way to diagnose the condition in its earliest stages. When the condition is detected early, the standard survival rate stands at 92 percent. That means more than 9 in 10 people live longer than five years when colon cancer is diagnosed through screenings.

If you are nearing 45 years old, are considered at risk or are experiencing symptoms, it’s imperative to schedule a colon cancer screening. The Maimonides Cancer Center in Brooklyn, NY, has been combating conditions such as colon cancer since 1973.