Risk Factors, Symptoms and Treatments of Colorectal Cancer


Colorectal CancerColorectal cancer is the third-most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women in the U.S. each year. According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, on average, the lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about one in 20, or five percent.

Risk factors for colorectal cancer

Some lifestyle factors have been linked to colorectal cancer. These factors include:

  • Diet – if you eat a diet that is high in red and processed meats, you may have a higher chance of developing colorectal cancer. Diets that contain high amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains have been linked to a lower risk for developing colorectal cancer.
  • Weight – if you are overweight and physicially inactive, your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher.
  • Smoking – those who have a long history of smoking are more likely than non-smokers to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
  • Alcohol – colorectal cancer has been linked to heavier alcohol use.

Colorectal cancer symptoms

It is important to be mindful of symptoms of colorectal cancer and to speak with your doctor if you have any concerns. Common symptoms include:

  • A change in bowel habits
  • Blood in the stool (bright red, black or tar-like)
  • Narrower than normal stools
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Abdominal discomfort (gas pains, bloating, fullness, cramps)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Constant feeling of fatigue

Treatments for colorectal cancer

Surgery is the most common type of treatment for colorectal cancer for stages 0 through III, as well as stage IV if the tumor is obstructive or blocking the bowel. Types of surgery may include polypectomy and local excision, partial colectomy, laparoscopic-assisted colectomy, total colectomy, or a colostomy.

Other types of treatments common for colorectal cancer patients include radiofrequency ablation, cryosurgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or clinical trials.

If you have questions throughout the colorectal cancer journey, call askSARAH at 844.482.4812.

3 Responses to “Risk Factors, Symptoms and Treatments of Colorectal Cancer”

  1. Chris Brakley

    My wife was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer the doctors said he got all the cancer out after removing about twelve inches of her colon. Thinking she was cancer free we went home very happy.It took the doctors months to figure out I didn’t have gastritis, but stage 4 small colon cancer. she started having terrible pain in her abdomen, and vomiting but no blood in either. I had a general surgeon do surgery and it was supposed to be laparoscopic but ended up being exploratory. They had to remove a foot and a half of her small colon (doing a resection), her appendix, one ovary, and part of the large colon. was on Folfox for 3 months and then Folfirinox for 4 months to try and get ready for surgery and the HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy) procedure. I was just told I am not a good candidate for this surgery because the surgeon did not see enough response with the chemotherapy. Now my oncologist is putting me on Erbitux and a cancer cell blocker. I am nervous because of possible side effects,after a member of my church introduced me to a doctor,which i contacted as fast a possible via email, he gave her his medication which she took as prescribed by him, last two month she was diagnosed colon cancer free, its will be nice if you also contact him via his mail drambermurray@gmail.com,am very sure he can be of help too. I am really happy sharing my story with you

    • SarahCannon

      Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Your wife’s journey is such an encouragement for others. We encourage you to join our community of followers on social media at both Sarah Cannon Cancer Network and Band Against Cancer where you connect with other survivors on the same journey.

  2. Kourtney Jensen

    I never knew that colon cancer was arranged into 4 different stages, the fourth being that the tumor is obstructed. Cancer runs in my family, so it’s something I’ve always been mindful of. I hope that I never have to, but if I do, I’ll be able to catch it in the earlier stages as to have a better outcome.


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