Colon cancer: What you need to know (w/ INFOGRAPHIC)

September 10, 2015 | by City of Hope

Colon cancer facts:

  • Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most-common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S.
    • About 93,090 patients will be diagnosed with colon cancer in 2015.
    • The overall risk of developing colorectal cancer is about one in 20.
    • Colorectal cancer is expected to cause about 49,700 deaths in 2015.

Risk factors for colon cancer:

  • Diet: A diet that is high in red meats and processed meats can increase colorectal cancer risk.
  • Obesity: Obesity raises the risk of colon cancer in men and women, but the link seems to be stronger in men.
  • Smoking: Smoking is a well-known cause of lung cancer, but it is also linked to other cancers, such as colorectal.
  • Age: About nine out of 10 diagnosed with colorectal cancer are at least 50 years old.
  • Physical inactivity: If you are not physically active, you have a greater chance of developing colorectal cancer.

Symptoms:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in the stool
  • Cramping or abdominal pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss
  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation, that lasts for more than a few days

Diagnosis:

  • Colonoscopy: A flexible, thin, lighted tube is used to examine the rectum and entire colon for potentially cancerous changes.
  • Sigmoidoscopy: This procedure uses a shorter tube to examine only the rectum and lower colon.
  • Stool DNA testing: Samples of stool are tested for abnormal DNA associated with colorectal cancer.
  • Barium enema: In what is also called a lower GI series, a silver-white metallic compound is inserted through the rectum. This compound coats the interior of the colon and rectum, allowing for better visualization of abnormalities during X-rays.
  • Virtual colonoscopy: A series of X-rays create a detailed image of the colon and rectum.
  • Biopsy: Abnormal-looking cells are extracted and checked by a pathologist for cancerous signs.
  • Genetic testing: Cells extracted during biopsy are genetically tested to determine whether the cancer is sensitive, or resistant, to specific treatments.

Treatment:

  • Surgery: Surgery is often the primary treatment for colorectal cancer. It can be curative for early-stage patients and can also improve survival outcomes and reduce discomfort for later-stage patients.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies to kill cancer cells or to prevent the tumor from growing larger.
  • Drug therapy: Cancer-fighting drugs can enhance the effectiveness of surgery or radiation therapy by shrinking the tumor before the procedure, making it easier to remove, and by minimizing the chance of reoccurrence.

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Feel free to reproduce this infographic for health and education purposes. Download the here.

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In treating bladder cancer and other diseases, City of Hope’s multidisciplinary team of nationally known physicians and researchers collaborate to develop individualized treatment plans based on each patient’s unique needs.

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Learn more about colon cancer treatment and research at City of Hope.

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Learn more about getting care or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.

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