5 Early Warning Signs Of Colorectal Cancer

Early detection of colon cancer leads to higher survival rates. Learn how warning signs and family history can affect a person’s risk.

Graphical representation of a pink intestine with growing polyps
This article was updated March 12, 2021.

About 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer every year. It is the third most commonly diagnosed in both men and women.

But with regular screening, colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is to research your family history and share that information with your doctor.

“Everyone is at risk for rectal cancer; “However, having a close family member with colon cancer can significantly impact your risk,” the School of Medicine says.

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“We generally estimate a person’s risk of developing colon cancer at about 5 percent,” Stoffel said. “If you have a family member with bowel cancer, your risk doubles. But if you have multiple relatives with bowel cancer, your risk is even higher. Between 5 and 10 percent of bowel cancer is inherited.

Early detection of cancer is the key to better outcomes. Most cases of colon cancer are due to polyps. Cancer can be prevented if polyps are found and removed early. Therefore, screening is important, especially for high-risk categories due to age and genetic predisposition to cancer.

See also: Colon Polyp Primer: Know Your Types and Risk Factors

The American Cancer Society has lowered the recommended age for annual colon cancer screening from 50 to 45. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is starting to update its recommendations based on new data, but they don’t include validation until a few big health insurers come along. . coated. 50 years

Health care providers may discuss different ways to screen for colon cancer based on the patient’s personal and family history. People with an increased risk of developing colon cancer due to a personal and/or family history should have a colonoscopy and early screening. Colon cancer often goes undiagnosed, so it’s important to get tested even if you don’t have any symptoms.

Some symptoms require special attention. If you notice any of the following, tell your doctor so they can determine if you need special tests.

Rectal bleeding or rectal bleeding

Changes in bowel structure, constipation and/or milder than usual

Persistent or recurring abdominal pain


Unexplained or unplanned loss

These symptoms are not colon cancer symptoms and may be caused by other conditions.

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