Colon cancer — or colorectal cancer — starts as noncancerous polyps in the lining of the colon or rectum. These slow growing cancers take 10 to 15 years to develop.
At Dignity Health Central California, our doctors provide personalized care including screenings to detect cancer in its early stages, when it’s easiest to treat. If you need quality care for colorectal cancer in Central California, Find a Doctor with our online tool.
What Causes Colon Cancer?
The cause of colon cancer isn’t completely clear. Even though anyone can get colon cancer, certain risk factors increase your likelihood of developing it, including:
- African American race
- Type two diabetes
- Age 50 and older
- Family or personal history of cancer or colorectal polyps
- Genetics, such as gene mutations and genetic syndromes
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease — ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Lifestyle choices, such as smoking, not exercising, poor diet, obesity, and heavy alcohol use
Colon Cancer Symptoms
Regular screening helps find many colon cancers early, before any noticeable symptoms start. In fact, regular screening helps find polyps before they become cancerous, preventing colon cancer from developing in the first place. There are a variety of screening methods, including colonoscopy, so talk with your doctor about your options.
When symptoms of colon cancer develop, they can include:
- Tiredness or weakness
- Bloody stools
- Feeling of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, narrowing of the stool, or changes in consistency
- Rectal bleeding
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
Many other conditions, such as hemorrhoids, have similar conditions. See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Colon Cancer Treatment Options a Dignity Health Central California
The most common treatment for all stages of colon cancer is surgery. The extent of surgery will depend on the stage. Additional treatment options include:
- Targeted therapy
The earlier colon cancer is caught, the better chances there are for a cure. Visit a Dignity Health Central California hospital near you for advanced care with compassion.
Dignity Health Central California provides comprehensive care for gastrointestinal cancers
, including colon cancer, in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.