Colon Cancer

Colon cancer, also referred to as colorectal cancer, occurs when cancer cells develop in the colon – the first 4 to five feet of the large intestine. In comparison, colorectal cancer refers to any cancer that may occur in the colon or rectum. Colon cancer is highly curable if detected in early states through screening methods, like colonoscopy. About 1 in 20 (5 percent) of Americans will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. Colorectal polyps (benign abnormal growths) affect about 20 percent to 30 percent of American adults.

Risk Factors

While the exact cause of colorectal cancer is unknown, the following factors can increase the risk of colon cancer.

  • Age nearly 90 percent of rectal cancer is detected in patients 50 and older
  • Family history of colorectal cancer (especially parents or siblings)
  • Personal history of Crohn's Disease or ulcerative colitis for eight years or longer
  • Colorectal polyps
  • Personal history of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer