Colorectal cancer – cancer that begins in the colon or rectum – is the third-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. More than 100,000 Americans are expected to die from it this year, according to the American Cancer Society.
While these statistics are important to note, colorectal cancer is very treatable when identified early, so regular screenings are important. These exams can find polyps – abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum – that may eventually become cancerous. When discovered, doctors can remove the polyps to prevent cancer from spreading to the lymph nodes, liver, lungs or other parts.
Young On-Set Colorectal Cancer
Young-onset colorectal cancer is unfortunately on the rise, with 11% of colon cancer cases and 18% of rectal cancer cases occurring in people younger than 50, according to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.
Knowing the symptoms of colorectal cancer can be the difference between life and death. Although there may be few or no signs of a problem – it’s often called the “silent killer” – pay attention if you notice the following:
- Blood in your stool: May be bright or dark red
- Change in your bowel habits: Could include constipation, diarrhea, change in consistency
- Frequent abdominal discomfort: Including gas, cramps, feeling bloated or as if bowel can’t empty
- Fatigue: May be accompanied by weight loss, vomiting or nausea
It’s important to remember that the early signs of colorectal cancer often do not involve pain, so be proactive in handling any concerns you may have.
Learn more about colorectal cancer by visiting our FAQ page.