Photo of a person holding a blue ribbon for March Colorectal Cancer Awareness month

Why does Colon Cancer happen? 

Why does Colon Cancer happen? 

Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the colon and rectum. It is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. Although the incidence of colorectal cancer has decreased in recent years due to increased screening and improved treatments, it is still a serious health concern. 

What causes Colon Cancer? 

Colorectal cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of cells in the colon or rectum. While the exact cause of this abnormal growth is not known, there are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing the disease. 

Age is the primary risk factor for colorectal cancer, with most cases occurring in individuals over the age of 50. Other risk factors include a family history of colorectal cancer, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, a diet high in red meat and processed foods, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and heavy alcohol consumption. 

What are the symptoms of Colon Cancer? 

Colorectal cancer often does not cause any symptoms in its early stages, which is why screening is so important. As the disease progresses, however, symptoms may include: 

  • A change in bowel habits, including diarrhea, constipation, or a change in the consistency of stool  
  • Blood in the stool 
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort 
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Fatigue 
  • Screening and Diagnosis 

Screening for colorectal cancer can help detect the disease early when it is most treatable. The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals at average risk for colorectal cancer begin regular screening at age 45. However, individuals with a family history of the disease or other risk factors may need to begin screening earlier. 

There are several screening tests available, including fecal occult blood tests, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy. If a screening test indicates the presence of cancer, a diagnosis is made through a biopsy, which involves removing a sample of tissue from the affected area and examining it under a microscope. 


Is there a treatment for Colon Cancer? 

Treatment for colorectal cancer depends on the stage of the disease and may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these treatments. In early-stage cancer, surgery may be the only treatment needed, while in more advanced cases, a combination of treatments may be necessary. 

Surgery involves removing the tumor and surrounding tissue, and in some cases, a portion of the colon or rectum may need to be removed as well. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are often used in conjunction with surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence. 


How can Colon Cancer be prevented? 

There are several things individuals can do to reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer. Eating a healthy diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in red meat and processed foods can help reduce the risk. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are also important factors. 

Screening for colorectal cancer is also an important preventive measure, as it can detect the disease in its early stages before symptoms develop. Additionally, individuals who smoke should quit and limit alcohol consumption. 


Colorectal cancer is a serious disease that affects a significant number of people each year. However, with early detection and treatment, the disease can often be successfully treated. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, undergoing regular screening, and seeking prompt medical attention if symptoms develop, individuals can reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer and increase their chances of a positive outcome if they are diagnosed with the disease. 


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