Summary Overview

Colon Cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. It affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, and is most often found in people aged 50 years or older.


Colon Cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.

Abnormal growths, called polyps, often times form in the colon or rectum. Over time, these may turn into cancer. Screening tests can help find the polyps early, before they turn into cancer.

Risk Factors for Colon Cancer

-Your risk factor for colon cancer increases as you get older. Other factors include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • A personal or family history of colon cancer or polyps Genetic syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colectoral cancer (Lynch syndrome)

-Lifestyle factors that may increase risk of colon cancer:

  • Lack of regular physical activity
  • Low fruit and vegetable intake
  • A low-fiber and high-fat diet
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco use

Symptoms of Colon Cancer
  • Blood in or on your stool
  • Stomach pains, aches, or cramps that don’t go away
  • Unexplained weight loss

Your Wake-Up Call

Spokane or Washington Specific Data


Get Screened!
  • Getting a screening is the best way to prevent colon cancer
  • Screening can identify precancerous growths in the lining of the colon
  • Screening can also detect cancer early, when treatments are most successful

Who should get screened for Colon Cancer?
  • Men and Women between ages 50-75
  • Anyone with a personal history of colon health problems
  • Anyone with a family history of colon cancer

Screening Options

There are three ways to screen for colon cancer:

  • Stool Tests (FOBT or FIT) (Recommended annually)
    • Using the test kit from your doctor, you collect a sample of your stool at home and return it to your doctor. Traces of blood in your sample may be a sign that there is cancer growing in your colon or rectum.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (Recommended every 5 years)

    • Your doctor uses a camera to look for polyps in the rectum and the lower third of the colon.

  • Colonoscopy (Recommended every 10 years)
    • Your doctor uses a camera which is attached to a long, thin tube to look for polyps in the rectum and the entire colon.

Related Facts

Colon Cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States (CDC)

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