Colorectal cancer is both curable and preventable if it is detected early and completely removed before the cancerous cells metastasize to other parts of the body. Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy (along with digital rectal examination and stool occult blood testing) are both effective at preventing colo-rectal cancers and detecting early colo-rectal cancers.Read more: Colon Cancer Prevention Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Picture of Colon
The part of the large intestine that serves to remove water from digested food and let the remaining material, solid waste called...
Picture of Colon Cancer
Most, if not all, of these cancers develop from colonic polyps. Removal of these precancerous polyps can prevent colon cancer....
Health Screening Tests Every Woman Needs
What is a health screening? Why is it important to know your blood pressure? How long will your health screening take? Learn...
Colon Cancer: Symptoms, Signs, Screening, Stages
Colorectal cancer (colon cancer) is the cause of many cancer deaths. Learn about the warning signs, symptoms, screening process,...
Screening Tests Every Man Should Have
Getting the right screening test at the right time is one of the most important things a man can do for his health. Learn at what...
Cancer-Fighting Foods in Pictures: Resveratrol, Green Tea, and More
Experts have praised certain foods for their ability to reduce cancer risks. Learn which foods and eating strategies may help...
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
What is inflammatory bowel disease? IBD can include Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Learn more about testing, treatments,...
Signs of Cancer in Men: Could it Be Cancer?
See pictures of which 15 cancer symptoms men ignore such as skin changes, difficulty swallowing, rapid weight loss, a breast...
Signs of Cancer in Women: Symptoms You Can't Ignore
Cancer symptoms can surprise women if they don't know what to watch out for. 15 cancer symptoms women ignore such as weight loss,...
Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Ulcerative Colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease and is slightly different than Crohn's disease. Your diet can impact...
How to Get Rid of Hemorrhoids: Types, Causes, and Treatments
Learn how to get rid of hemorrhoids, the difference between internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids, what causes...
Healthy Eating: The Dangers of Processed Meat
Processed meats like pepperoni, beef jerky, and chicken nuggets are associated with an increased risk of health problems like...
Colon Cancer: How Your Diet Can Affect Colorectal Cancer
Diet, including nutrient, antioxidant, and vitamin intake, affects colon cancer risk. Certain dietary factors either decrease or...
IMAGESSee a medical illustration of colon cancer plus our entire medical gallery of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Related Disease Conditions
Colon cancer (bowel cancer) is a malignancy that arises from the inner lining of the colon. Most, if not all, of these cancers develop from colonic polyps. Removal of these precancerous polyps can prevent colon cancer.
Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss are common symptoms.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the colon. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Ulcerative colitis is closely related to Crohn's disease, and together they are referred to as inflammatory bowel disease. Treatment depends upon the type of ulcerative colitis diagnosed.
Gardner's Syndrome (Familial Adenomatous Polyposis)
Gardners' syndrome, or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), is an inherited condition in which cancer of the colon and rectum develop. Colon polyps and growths may develop as early as the teens. If these polyps are not removed, they will become cancerous. There are different inheritance patterns for familial adenomatous polyposis.
Melanosis coli is a condition that is often associated with prolonged laxative use. Dark pigment forms in the wall of the large intestine as a result of wear and tear. Melanosis Coli (Pseudomelanosis Coli) causes no symptoms and can be reversed with discontinuation of laxative use.
Colon Polyps: Symptoms, Causes, Cancer Risk, Treatment, and Prevention
Colon polyps are common growths on the inner lining of the colon. Colon polyps may become cancerous. There are several different types of colon polyps, and the chance of the polyp becoming cancerous depends on the type, size, and histology. Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding are the most common symptoms of colon polyps. Treatment for colon polyps depend on the type, size, and histology.
Healthy Living and Disease Prevention
The importance of a healthy lifestyle in disease prevention is widely understood and most people know that lifestyle changes and choices can be critical to good health. Yet, few practice healthy behaviors that constitute healthy living.
Smoking (How to Quit Smoking)
Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or "passive smoke" also harm family members, coworkers, and others around smokers. There are a number of techniques available to assist people who want to quit smoking.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Intestinal Problems of IBD)
The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). The intestinal complications of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis differ because of the characteristically dissimilar behaviors of the intestinal inflammation in these two diseases.
Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
Disease Prevention in Men
Disease prevention in men includes routine screening tests that are part of basic prevention medicine. Take an active role in your own health care and discuss screening tests with your doctor early in life. Age of screening and timing of screening depends upon the condition being assessed. Diseases men should take steps to prevent include high blood pressure (hypertension), hypercholesterolemia, type II diabetes mellitus, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), colon cancer and colon polyps, prostate cancer, glaucoma, melanoma and other skin cancer, and bladder cancer.
Disease Prevention in Women
Disease prevention in women includes screening tests that are a basic part of prevention medicine. All screening tests are commonly available through your general doctor. Some specialized tests may be available elsewhere.
Genetic Diseases (Disorder Definition, Types, and Examples)
The definition of a genetic disease is a disorder or condition caused by abnormalities in a person's genome. Some types of genetic inheritance include single inheritance, including cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Marfan syndrome, and hemochromatosis. Other types of genetic diseases include multifactorial inheritance. Still other types of genetic diseases include chromosome abnormalities (for example, Turner syndrome, and Klinefelter syndrome), and mitochondrial inheritance (for example, epilepsy and dementia).
Anal cancer, cancer located at the end of the large intestine, has symptoms that include anal or rectal bleeding, anal pain or pressure, anal discharge or itching, a change in bowel movements, and/or a lump in the anal region. Treatment for anal cancer may involve radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery and depends upon the stage of the cancer, its location, whether cancer is eradicated after the first treatment, and whether the patient has HIV.Anal cancer is usually curable when found localized. Early detection remains the key to long-term survival as it is in many forms of cancer.
Symptoms of 12 Serious Diseases and Health Problems
Learn how to recognize early warning signs and symptoms of serious diseases and health problems, for example, chronic cough, headache, chest pain, nausea, stool color or consistency changes, heartburn, skin moles, anxiety, nightmares, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, delusions, lightheadedness, night sweats, eye problems, confusion, depression, severe pelvic or abdominal pain, unusual vaginal discharge, and nipple changes. The symptoms and signs of serious health problems can be caused by strokes, heart attacks, cancers, reproductive problems in females (for example, cancers, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and sexually transmitted diseases or STDs), breast problems (for example, breast cancer and non-cancer related diseases), lung diseases (for example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, lung cancer, emphysema, and asthma), stomach or digestive diseases (for example, cancers, gallbladder, liver, and pancreatic diseases, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease), bladder problems (for example, urinary incontinence, and kidney infections), skin cancer, muscle and joint problems, emotional problems or mental illness (for example, postpartum depression, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mania, and schizophrenia), and headache disorders (for example, migraines, or "the worst headache of your life), and eating disorders and weight problems (for example, anorexia or bulimia).
Colitis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. Symptoms of the inflammation of the colon lining include diarrhea, pain, and blood in the stool. There are several causes of colitis, including infection, ischemia of the colon, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, infectious colitis like C. difficile, or microscopic colitis). Treatment depends on the cause of the colitis.
Your health care provider may refer you to a genetic professional. Universities and medical centers also often have affiliated genetic professionals, or can provide referrals to a genetic professional or genetics clinic. Genetic counseling provides patients and family members the tools to make the right choice in regard to test for a disease or condition.
Ulcerative Colitis Diet Plan
An ulcerative colitis diet plan can help a person with the disease avoid foods and drinks that trigger flares. There also are foods that can soothe ulcerative colitis symptoms during a flare. Types of ulcerative colitis plans include a high-calorie diet, a lactose-free diet, a low-fat diet, a low-fiber diet (low-residue diet), or a low-salt diet. Self-management of ulcerative colitis using healthy lifestyle habits and a nutrient rich diet can be effective in management of the disease. Learn what foods to avoid that aggravate, and what foods help symptoms of the disease and increase bowel inflammation.
Is Crohn's Disease Contagious?
Crohn's disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and is characterized by symptoms and signs that include diarrhea, fever, weight loss, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Though Crohn's disease is not contagious it can spread throughout a person's gastrointestinal tract. An increase in the above symptoms and signs warrants a visit to a doctor's office.
Why Am I So Bloated and Gassy?
Bloating is a feeling that your abdomen is distended or larger than normal, but it does not necessarily mean that it is. Gas (flatulence) also can be a problem if you are bloated. Common, less serious causes of bloating are eating too fast, too much, or too many fatty foods; swallowing air; pregnancy; and menstruation. Cancer and IBD (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) are examples the more serious causes of bloating. Examples of foods and drinks that cause bloating are high fiber foods if you don't eat them regularly; eventually the bloating and gassiness will resolve if you eat them on a regular basis; fatty greasy foods, dairy products (for example, cheese, ice cream, milk, and yogurt); foods high in salt (for example, processed, frozen, and canned foods), and artificial sweeteners. Some doctors and other health care professionals recommend natural remedies like chamomile or peppermint tea, or pumpkin to relieve bloating. Examples of OTC medicine (medicine available without a prescription) and other products that may relieve bloating and gassiness are, Gas-X, Beano, Pepto Bismol, Metamucil, probiotics, and Ex-Lax for constipation associated with bloating. If you have persistent or severe gas and bloating, and if you have any of these symptoms see a doctor or other healthcare professional, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, bloody diarrhea, fever, or if you think you are or may be pregnant.
Nature vs. Nurture Theory (Genes vs. Environment)
In the nature vs. nurture debate, "nature" represents our genetic makeup. These are the genes you have inherited from your biological family, and that may affect your physical and mental health, for example, intelligence, disease, and psychological health. While "nurture" represents how our environment affects our intelligence, traits, personality, and mental and physical health. Studies have shown that a person's environment can alter his or her genes, and lower their risk of developing certain inherited diseases, conditions, and mental illnesses that run in his or her family. Researchers and doctors have found that particular physical traits like eye and skin color, and diseases like Huntington's chorea are the result of genetic inheritance (inherited from a family member). However, patterns of thinking and behavior can be attributed to both nature and nurture (your genes and your environment). Moreover, researchers who study the brain have found overwhelming evidence that a person's genetic factors and his or her experiences guide and support brain development. The human brain produces new nerve cells (neurons) into adulthood, and these nerve cells can change the strength of their connections throughout life, which can affect intelligence and other factors.
Early Warning Signs and Stages of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer or colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the cells lining the large intestine (colon). In the early stages of colon cancer, warning signs and symptoms usually don’t occur. Colon cancer usually does not have any signs or symptoms. As the cancer grows and expands it may begin to produce signs and symptoms, for example, diarrhea, constipation, blood in the stool, and narrow or pencil-thin stools.There are four stages of colon cancer; however, The term Stage 0 is sometimes used for a very early cancer that only affects the lining of the intestine. The other stages of colon cancer are stage 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Local ResourcesFind a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Colonoscopy (Test, Side Effects, Preparation, Recovery)
- Colon and Colorectal Cancer Screening
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
- Fecal Occult Blood Test
- Virtual Colonoscopy
- Capsule Endoscopy
- Balloon Endoscopy
- Push Endoscopy
- Endoscopy vs. Colonoscopy
- Sigmoidoscopy vs. Colonoscopy
- How Painful Is a Colonoscopy?
- Is an Anoscopy Painful?
- Is A Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Painful?
- What Is A Colon Resection?
- Is A Colon Resection A Major Surgery?
- Colon Cancer, The Genetic Factor
- Stage IV Colon Cancer That Has Spread to the Liver
- Doctors Answer Digestion Questions
- Evaluating Treatments and Supplements
- Disease Prevention From a Doctor's Perspective
- 10 Cancer Symptoms That Men Ignore
- Abdominal Pain: Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Annual Physical Exam
- Ask the Experts - Gastroentrology (Digestion)
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Bacterial Blood Infections Tied to Heightened Colon Cancer Risk
- Parent or Sibling With Colon Cancer? You May Need Colonoscopy Earlier
- Low-Dose Aspirin Might Lower Odds for Digestive Cancers
- 5 Ways to Fight America's No. 3 Cancer Killer
- Weight-Loss Surgery May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
- For Patients on Blood Thinners, GI Bleeding May Signal Colon Cancer: Study
- New Study Supports Lowering Age of First Colonoscopy
- Colon Cancer Hits Poor, City Dwellers Hardest: Study
- Regular Exercise Cuts Odds for 7 Major Cancers
- Healthy Lifestyle, Regular Screening May Keep Cancer at Bay
- Low-Dose Aspirin Might Cut Cancer Risk, Especially for Overweight People
- Most Americans Fear Cancer, but Feel Powerless to Prevent It: Survey
- Meat Study Authors Have Financial Ties to Beef Industry
- Exercise Is Good Medicine for Advanced Colon Cancer
- More Antibiotics, Higher Odds for Colon Cancer?
- Are You Still Putting Off Colon Cancer Screening?
- Many Advanced Colon Cancers Were 'Born' Ready to Spread
- Yogurt Might Help Men Avoid Colon Cancer: Study
- Which Foods Are the Best Sources of Dietary Fiber?
- Colon Cancer Screenings Increase When Medicaid Arrives
- Poor Diet Might Raise Your Cancer Risk
- Colon Cancer Increasingly Striking the Young Worldwide
- With Weeks to Live, Many Cancer Patients Try Useless Treatments
- Choose the Right Colon Cancer Screening Option
- Exercise Might Slow Colon Cancer's Advance
- Colon Cancer Usually Diagnosed Late in Under-50 Adults
- Is At-Home Stool Test a Viable Alternative to Colonoscopy?
- Aspirin Can Help Prevent Colon Cancer, But Many at Risk Don't Take It
- Too Much TV Raises Women's Odds for Early-Onset Colon Cancer: Study
- 'Poop Transplants' May Help Ease Painful Colitis
- Make Cancer Prevention a Priority in 2019
- U.S. Cancer Deaths Continue to Decline
- Many Patients With Polyps Delay Follow-up Colonoscopy: Study
- A Healthy Diet Is Never Too Late With Colon Cancer
- Why Cancer Risk Is Higher in Taller Folk
- Love Organic Foods? Your Odds for Some Cancers May Fall
- Obesity Doubles Odds for Colon Cancer in Younger Women
- Going Vegetarian to Cut Colon Cancer Risk
- To Boost Colon Cancer Screening, Use the Mail
- 3-Pronged Approach to Cancer Prevention
- Too Few Americans Getting Screened for Cancer: CDC
- Could Diet Soda Help Curb Colon Cancer's Return?
- Hidden Blood in Feces May Signal Deadly Conditions
- Health Tip: If You're 45 or Older, Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer
- Vitamin D May Guard Against Colon Cancer
- New Guidelines Lower Colon Cancer Screening Age to 45
- Widely Used Antibacterial Tied to Colon Woes in Mice
- Colon Polyp Type May Be Key to Cancer Risk
- Want to Help Beat Colon Cancer? Live Healthy
- Health Tip: Help Prevent Colorectal Cancer
- Red Meat Tied to Higher Colon Cancer Risk for Women
- Early Colon Cancer Screening Advised for Some
- Could Your Colonoscopy Raise Your Risk for Appendicitis?
- These Foods May Up Your Odds for Colon Cancer
- Should Colon Cancer Screening Start at 45, not 50?
- Omega-3s in Fish Tied to Better Colon Cancer Outcomes
- Researchers Get Closer to Test Predicting Colon Cancer's Return
- Regular Doctor Visits Can Help Spot Colon Cancer
- Is Ovary Removal Tied to Colon Cancer Risk?
- Expert Panel Reaffirms Daily Aspirin's Use Against Heart Disease, Colon Cancer
- 'Prehabilitation' Before Colon Cancer Surgery May Aid Recovery
- Ways to Cut Your Colon Cancer Risk
- New Stool Test Shows Promise as Colon Cancer Screen
- Germs That Inhabit Gut May Affect Colon Cancer Risk
- Prepping for a Colonoscopy: Why It's a Necessary Evil
- Delaying Colonoscopy Puts Man in Grave Danger
- Seniors Getting Unnecessary Colonoscopies: Study
- New Drug Approved for Colonoscopy Preparation
- Health Tip: Help Prevent Colon Polyps
- The Laxative-Free 'Virtual Colonoscopy'
- Colon Cancer Gaps for Blacks, Whites Largely Due to Screening
- New Stool Test Might Aid in Early Detection of Colon Cancer
- New Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines Focus on Individual Risk
- Worries About Colonoscopy Unfounded: Study
- Booze and Family History of Colon Cancer a Bad Mix: Study
- Colorectal Cancer on the Rise in Adults Under 50
- Osteoporosis Drugs Linked to Lower Cancer Risk
- New Insurance Rules: Free Preventive Health Care
- Polyp-Finding Skill Is Key to Colonoscopy Success
- Single Screening Cuts Colon Cancer Risk