What Is Colorectal Cancer? Its Causes And Risk Factors

by Thomas
Risk Factors

Colon cancer refers to cancer that initiates in the area of your large intestine or colon. You can call it the final part of an individual’s digestive tract. Usually, this cancer appears in older adults but it can affect people of any age.

It usually initiates as clumps of cells known as polyps. These clumps are small in size and noncancerous. The formation of such clumps occurs inside the area of an individual’s colon. These polys can become cancers of the colon with the passage of time.

People may have a few small polyps if they experience symptoms. In this case, doctors recommend you to be screened for polyps so they can remove them before these polyps alter into cancer. Different treatments are available to control colon cancer.

These treatments include immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Colon cancer is also known as colorectal cancer. This term is used for the combination of rectal and colon cancer which starts in your rectum area.


You may experience fatigue and weakness with colon cancer. Even people may have weight loss that is unexplained. A feeling that your bowel is still not empty is also a symptom of colon cancer. Its other symptoms are:

  • Continuous discomfort in the area of abdomen such as pain, gas, or cramps
  • Bleeding in rectal or blood in stool
  • A persistent alteration in the habits of bowel including constipation or diarrhea

In the early stages, the symptoms of colon cancer may not appear in many people. When you experience symptoms, they vary and are associated with the location and size of cancer of the large intestine.

If you are noticing persistent symptoms and are worried about your condition, go to visit your doctor. Discuss your condition with your doctor regarding screening for cancer of the colon.

According to certain guidelines, it is recommended that screening begins at 50. Doctors suggest you to be tested for colon cancer earlier if you have a family history of this cancer.


Doctors are not sure about the exact causes of colon cancer. In general, these cancers initiate when healthy cells present in the colon develop alterations or mutations in their DNA. 

Moreover, the DNA of cells is composed of a set of guidelines or instructions about the functioning of cells. Healthy cells keep dividing and grow in an orderly way in order to keep an individual’s body working.

If a damaged DNA of a cell becomes cancerous, the division of these cells continues even if new cells are formed and division is not needed. In this case, cells start accumulating in a specific area of your body and make a tumor. 

These cells destroy other normal tissues. Cancerous cells can also travel to your other body parts where they form deposits or metastasis.

Risk Factors

The following factors can enhance your chances of getting colon cancer.

Older Age

People may be diagnosed with colon cancer at any age. But the majority with colon cancer is older than 50. The rate of colon cancer in people above 50 years old has been enhancing and doctors are not sure about why it is happening.

African-American Race

The risk of colon cancer is higher in African-Americans as compared to the people who belong to other races.

Personal History Of Polyps

If an individual has colon cancer or polyps even if they are noncancerous, he or she is vulnerable to experience the symptoms of colon cancer in the future.

Inflammatory Intestinal Conditions

Chronic inflammatory diseases associated with colons such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis enhance your risk of developing colon cancer.

Inherited Syndromes

Some mutations of genes that transfer in your family can enhance the risk of getting colon cancer. But only a small percentage of cases of colon cancer are associated with inherited genes. 

Lynch syndrome and adenomatous polyposis are the common inherited syndrome that enhances your risk of getting colon cancer.

Family History Of Colorectal Cancer

You are vulnerable to develop symptoms of colon cancer if your blood relative has had it. Your vulnerability is greater if more than one family member has the symptoms of colon cancer.

Low Fiber And High Fat Diet

Rectal and colon cancer may be linked with a Western diet. This diet is composed of a high amount of calories and fats and a low amount of fibers. Some studies have reported a risk of getting colon cancer in people who eat processed and red meat.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Inactive people are vulnerable to developing colon cancer. Do physical activities on a regular basis. It decreases your risk of getting the symptoms of colon cancer.

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