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Colon Cancer Treatment

General Information About Colon Cancer

 

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Colon cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the colon.

The colon is part of the body’s digestive system. The digestive system removes and processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from foods and helps pass waste material out of the body. The digestive system is made up of the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines. The first 6 feet of the large intestine are called the large bowel or colon. The last 6 inches are the rectum and the anal canal. The anal canal ends at the anus (the opening of the large intestine to the outside of the body).Anatomy of the lower digestive system, showing the colon and other organs.
Anatomy of the lower digestive system, showing the colon and other organs.

Anatomy of the lower digestive system, showing the colon and other organs.

See the PDQ summary on Unusual Cancers of Childhood for information about colorectal cancer in children.

Age and health history can affect the risk of developing colon cancer.

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Risk factors include the following:

Possible signs of colon cancer include a change in bowel habits or blood in the stool.

These and other symptoms may be caused by colon cancer. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:

Tests that examine the colon and rectum are used to detect (find) and diagnose colon cancer.

The following tests and procedures may be used:

Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

The prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on the following:

Treatment options depend on the following: