Colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer, develops in the large intestine (in the lower part of your digestive tract). Most cases of colon cancers grow slowly over 10 to 15 years. These are called adenocarcinomas. They form in the glands that make lubricating mucus for the colon (large intestine) and rectum. Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer after skin cancer in both men and women.
At St. Joseph's Cancer Institute, our skilled oncologists and nurse navigators offer world-class care to evaluate, diagnose, and treat colon cancer in Stockton, CA and the surrounding areas. If you would like to learn more about our oncology services or schedule a colonoscopy, Find a Doctor.
Colon Cancer Symptoms
During a colon cancer screening, doctors at Dignity Health can detect early colon cancer, before you even notice symptoms. Recommended screenings for colonoscopy can often prevent colon cancer because doctors can catch polyps before they become cancerous.
If and when symptoms of colon cancer do develop, they may include:
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Tiredness or weakness
- Rectal bleeding
- Feeling of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement
- Changes in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, changes in consistency, or narrowing of the stool)
- Bloody stool
- Abdominal cramping or pain
Because many of these symptoms mimic those seen in other conditions, like hemorrhoids, consult with a doctor at Dignity Health to receive an accurate diagnosis.
Colon Cancer Risk Factors
Experts don’t fully understand what causes colon cancer. Oncologists focus on the risk factors of colon cancer to help prevent and determine your chances of developing the disease.
The most common colon cancer risk factors are:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
- Genetics: Five to 10 percent of colon cancers are linked to gene mutations and genetic syndromes.
- Family or personal history of colorectal polyps or cancer
- Age: 90 percent of colon cancers occur in people age 50 and older.
- African American race
Colon Cancer Treatment at Dignity Health
If you or a loved one has colon cancer, your oncologist will likely recommend surgery. Surgery is used to treat all stages of colon cancer. However, the specific type you need will depend on the stage of the cancer.
In addition to surgery, your doctor may recommend these standard treatments for colon cancer:
Our trusted oncologists provide a wide array of colon cancer treatments, as well as education on prevention to catch colon cancer before it spreads. Your primary care doctor can perform routine colon cancer screenings (colonoscopy) to help you stay on top of your colorectal health. Thanks to effective treatments, more than one million Americans are colon cancer survivors.
St. Joseph's Cancer Institute offers counseling on prevention and provides the latest treatments for colon cancer in Stockton, CA and the surrounding areas.