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Comprehensive Care for Colon Cancer


Colon cancer, or colorectal cancer, is the third most common cancer after skin cancer in both men and women. Most colon cancers (95 percent) are adenocarcinomas. These cancers start as noncancerous polyps in the lining of the colon or rectum and slowly develop over 10 to 15 years.

If you’re concerned about colon cancer, Dignity Health is here to help. Our doctors can check for polyps with screening tests like a colonoscopy. Find a Doctor online to schedule a screening at one of our hospitals:

Colon Cancer: Risk Factors

The cause of colon cancer isn’t fully understood. Anyone can get colon cancer, but certain risk factors increase your chances of developing it, including: 

  • African American race
  • History of colorectal polyps or cancer, including family or personal history
  • Age — 90 percent of colon cancers occur in people over 50
  • Genetics — five to 10 percent of colon cancers are related to genetic syndromes and mutations in genes
  • History of inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Lifestyle factors, such as not exercising, obesity, smoking, poor diet, and heavy alcohol use

Colon Cancer Symptoms

Screening can prevent colon cancer from developing by helping your doctor find polyps early, before symptoms start and before the polyps become cancerous. There are many effective screening methods, so talk with your doctor about your options.

When symptoms of colon cancer develop, they can include: 

  • Bloody stool
  • Abdominal cramping or pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, changes in consistency, or narrowing of the stool
  • Feeling of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Tiredness or weakness 

See your Dignity Health doctor for a correct diagnosis. Many other conditions have similar symptoms, such as hemorrhoids.

Colon Cancer: Treatment Options at Dignity Health

Our hospitals offer preventative care, early detection, advanced diagnostic and imaging technologies, and state-of-the-art treatments. If you are diagnosed with colon cancer, your Dignity Health doctor may recommend the following treatment options:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Targeted therapy

Screenings allow doctors to diagnose colon cancer in its earliest stages. Today’s treatment plans are extremely effective at curing colon cancer. More than one million Americans are colon cancer survivors. If you are diagnosed with colon cancer, rely on Dignity Health for the personal care you need.

Dignity Health provides complete care for colon cancer in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.