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Colon Cancer Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options

Colon cancer is an inclusive term referring to any cancer that begins in the colon, or the large intestine. There are several types of cancer that affect the colon, distinguished by which kinds of cells they start in; the majority of cases are classified as adenocarcinomas, which affect epithelial cells that line the colon.

The medical community is still unsure about what causes cancer to start, but certain risk factors can increase the chances that a person will develop the condition. In the case of intestinal cancers, these risk factors include:

  • Having a genetic or inflammatory intestinal condition, like Crohn’s disease
  • Being over 50 years old
  • Having a family or personal history of colorectal cancers
  • Being obese
  • Eating a poor diet that includes lots of processed or red meats
  • Smoking or using other tobacco products
  • Drinking alcohol in excess

The symptoms of colon cancer don’t always appear in the earliest stages of its development, which makes cancer screenings that can detect precancerous developments and malignancies that much more important. When signs of colon cancer do occur, the most common include changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation that last longer than a few days. Blood in stool may also be present. Abdominal cramping, fatigue, anemia, and unintentional weight loss can also indicate cancer, although all of these signs can also be associated with any number of other, less serious circumstances.

Tampa General Hospital’s colorectal oncologists offer an array of resources for treating all types of colon cancer. Our multispecialty team can draft a comprehensive treatment plan that is tailored to each patient’s individual needs, all with the goal of eliminating as much of the cancerous tissue as possible. To that end, our experienced surgeons can perform polypectomies, local excisions, and other procedures.

For a physician referral, please use our PhysicianFinder tool or call (813) 844-2200.