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What is colon cancer? An overview

As the third most common type of cancer in the world, colon cancer is a significant public health concern. Because of the lack of early-stage symptoms in colon cancer and the common confusion about screening requirements, it is often a type of cancer that remains undetected until it reaches advanced stages. This delayed diagnosis can have a significant impact on a person’s prognosis. It is estimated that there are 20 million people in the United States who are eligible for screening but have not yet received it.

Antidote aims to raise awareness about colon cancer, its symptoms, and the critical importance of early detection. Our goal is to enhance a general understanding of this condition and reduce its impact. Furthermore, ongoing cancer research holds the promise of improving patient outcomes, but it can only progress with active patient participation.

What is colon cancer?

Colorectal cancer (often shortened to colon cancer) is a condition where cells within the colon and/or the rectum begin to grow uncontrollably. Generally, this will begin with polyps or small growths within the colon. While not all polyps are cancerous, those that are can begin to grow through the layers of the colon and eventually spread to other parts of the body.

Symptoms of colon cancer

The symptoms of colon cancer can greatly differ from one person to another and are largely contingent on the location of the cancer within the colon and the growth of the polyps. In its early stages, colon cancer typically remains asymptomatic. However, as the disease progresses, individuals may begin to experience symptoms such as persistent abdominal discomfort, changes in bowel habits, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.

Common risk factors for colon cancer

Though it is not clear what causes colon cancer, researchers have been able to identify some factors that may increase a person’s risk. The chances of developing colon cancer increase as a person gets older, and are also higher if someone has a family history of the condition. Additionally, individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, a diet low in fruits and vegetables, and a lack of regular physical activity have been demonstrated to have a higher likelihood of developing colon cancer.

The importance of colon cancer screening

Early colon cancer screening is one of the best ways to catch potentially cancerous growths early, which can significantly improve a person’s prognosis. It is recommended that everyone between the ages of 45 and 75 get tested regularly, but individuals who have a family history or other factors that might increase their risk should consult with their doctor and explore getting screened earlier.

There are still many unanswered questions regarding colon cancer and how to lessen its impact on the lives of those who are diagnosed with it. However, ongoing research endeavors are dedicated to gaining a deeper understanding of these crucial aspects. Colon cancer clinical trials are seeking volunteers now; use the button below to see studies in your area.