Risk factors include age, race, family history, previous polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, smoking and heavy alcohol use. Mercy Health experts recommend eating a high-fiber diet rich in fruits and vegetables and reducing consumption of sugar and processed foods and exercise to help reduce your risk for colon cancer.
Colon cancer symptoms include stomach pain, blood in your stool, very dark stool or change in bowl habits. Talk to your doctor if you experience these issues. Early stages of colon cancer often present with no symptoms which is why preventative measures and screenings are important. Our experts recommend screenings start at age 50, or possibly earlier if you have a family history of the disease. Colon cancer screening options include a stool test you can do at home, as well as colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or CT colonography.
Surgeons perform colon cancer surgery to remove cancerous growths. The type of surgery will depend on how progressed the cancer is. Localized colon cancer can usually be treated with a polypectomy to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue during a colonoscopy. Tumors that are too large to remove with a polypectomy will typically be removed with laparoscopic surgery. Colon cancer that has spread may require the surgical oncologist to perform a partial colectomy to remove parts of your colon that contain the cancer. You may also receive chemotherapy and radiation after surgery.
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