Colon Cancer – Overview, Causes, Stages, and Symptoms

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Colon cancer is the third most common cancer. Globally, it is usual in 1 out of 23 in men, and 1 out of 25 in women. Despite its illness, more than half of the cases modify due to unhealthy habits. Cancer cells grow either in the colon or rectum area. It has no early symptoms. Yet, the proper diagnosis can detect the problem.

Likewise, the study showed people suffering from colorectal cancer have modifiable factors. Conversely, either they have an unhealthy diet, smoking habits, or high alcohol consumptions.

Rank Country Age-standardized rate per 100,000
1 Hungary 51.2
2 South Korea 44.5
3 Slovakia 43.8
4 Norway 42.9
5 Slovenia 41.1
6 Denmark 41.0
7 Portugal 40.0
8 Barbados 38.9
9 Japan 38.9
10= Netherlands 37.8
Top 10 countries which have Colo rectal cancer

The Colon cancer peaked around 2007 to 2016. However, the growth rate of cancer has somehow dropped. The daily progression is below 3.6% in people aged 50 or above. However, there is a 2% increase in people younger than 55.
According to the American Institute for cancer research, the top 10 countries with colon cancer are listed below. This data represents both genders and standard age.

Colon Cancer (Colorectal Cancer) Overview

The large intestine or large bowel opens into two segments. First, the colon and second, the rectum. Together they make up the largest part of the digestive system. thoroughly, food travels from the tube of the colon and reaches the rectum. In the case of cancer, it affects both the colon and rectum. So, that is why it is also known as Colorectal Cancer.

Mostly, colon cancer starts in the inner wall or linings of the tube. Depending on the area, cancer initiates the growth of Polyps. Polyps are initially non-cancerous clumps of the cell. They develop on the walls of colon or rectum. Besides, these can be small and few in numbers at the beginning. Yet, they can turn into cancerous if not correctly diagnosed.

What Causes Cancer?

Till today, the leading cause of colon cancer is unknown. Doctors are not sure what triggers cancer. However, the studies show the mutation in a cell can cause cancer. These mutations can be genetically inherited or acquired. Nevertheless, it doesn’t guarantee the development of Colorectal Cancer. Still, it increases the likelihood of growing cancer.

Identifying Colon Cancer – Stages

Proper screening can diagnose situations. Doctors may use a staging method to identify cancer. This helps in determining how far the cancer is. Further, every doctor needs to know the stage of colon cancer. This way, he can establish a plan and carry out the relevant procedure.

Colorectal cancer has the main four stages. It starts from stage 0 as it is the earliest stage for cancer.

Stage 0:
This is the earliest stage of colorectal cancer. It is also known as carcinoma. In this stage, abnormal cells are present in the walls or linings of colon or rectum.

Stage 1:
After Stage 0, the cells penetrate through the walls. The cancer spread through the mucus lining and grow into muscle layers. Eventually, it only subjects to the muscles. However, no other parts or nodes develop cancer.

Stage 2:
Following stage 1, the cancerous cells spread over the walls of colon and rectum. Still, the tissues and lymph nodes are unaffected.

Stage 3:
After penetrating tissues, cancer grows more in tracts. The cells start to grow into lymph nodes.

Stage 4:
It is the most advanced stage of cancer. The last stage describes cancer as it penetrates through the digestive tract to other organs.

The early-stage diagnosis of cancer has a 90% survival rate. An abstract of the survey reveals the forecast for 2020. It shows that 147,950 cases will be diagnosed. On the other hand, about 53,200 will die due to colorectal cancer. 

Colon Cancer Symptoms

Colorectal cancer is considered as silent cancer. Cancer does not show any early symptoms or signs. Without any warnings, it is hard to detect whether a person has it or not. Based on risk factors, regular checkups can detect cancer in the early stage.
Therefore, Doctors always recommend proper screening. A doctor can provide appropriate medications after screening. Hence, the right treatment will help terminate the cancerous cells.

Other than that, people may experience some of the below-listed symptoms.

  • Bowel disturbance
  • Frequent Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Change of Stool Color
  • Change in Stool shapes
  • Blood drops in stool
  • Often bleeding from the rectum
  • Excessive gas in the stomach
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Severe Abdominal pain 

These signs are no different from other diseases. However, experiencing more than one of these signs can be due to cancer. So, make sure to discuss with the doctor at the earliest.

Colon Cancer Types

The Cancer location in large bowels is either in the colon or rectum. Yet, the most frequent issue arises when both areas are combined. Likewise, the disease sounds self-explanatory. Still, it has more than one type. The slight difference in the arrangement of cancerous cells develops multiple cases. The difference depends on the type of cell and where they occur.

Whereas, the most common type is adenocarcinomas. It covers most of the colorectal cases. Unless the doctor specifies, people usually have a colorectal case. In Adenocarcinomas, the cancer forms in the mucus-producing cells.

Despite cancerous cells and polyps, colorectal cancer can also be due to tumours. These Other types of tumours include;

Lymphomas: The cancer cell forms in lymph nodes

Carcinoids: The cancer forms in hormone making cells within the bowel or intestine.

Sarcomas: The cancer forms in the muscle like soft tissues present in the colon

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor: It is a rare case of colorectal cancer. It starts as benign and then transforms into a cancerous cell. Just as its name, it usually forms in the digestive tract other than the colon.

Colon Cancer – Who is at Risk?

There can be more risk factors associated with colon cancer. The possibility of having risk depends on fixed or modified factors. It describes how you can control the chances of developing cancer. Fixed factors are unavoidable as it stays unchanging despite your willingness. Besides, you can not prevent them. Incase of modifiable factors, you can control the chances.

Fixed Risk Factors

Age is one of the leading fixed risk factors. As it is the most universally occurring cancer, men and women both are equal at risk. It is commonly found in people around 50 age. However, it can also occur in young people.
Some of the Fixed Risk factors are;

  • History of having Colon Polyps
  • A relatable history of bowel disease
  • A family history associated with colorectal cancer
  • Possess genetic syndromes such as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)
  • Relating to Eastern European Jewish or African Ancestry

Modified Risk Factors

The fixed factors are unavoidable to control the chances of having cancer. One cannot eliminate these factors. Still, there are modifiable factors that also trigger colorectal cancer. These can either one of the unhealthy habits.
The modifiable factors are usually self-applicable. And Perhaps, it can be a great reason behind Colon cancer.
Modifiable Risk Factors include;

  • Having obesity or overweight
  • Smoking habit.
  • Heavy drinker or high consumption of alcohol
  • Having type 2 Diabetes
  • Inactive or sedentary Lifestyle
  • High Processed meat consumption

On the wise, both factors trigger the chance of colorectal cancer. But, a brief history of colon disease increases the possibility of having it.


The colon is the largest part of intestines. It covers the end area of the digestive tract along with the rectum. Apparently, both sites have a likelihood of developing polyps. Initially, it is non-cancerous. However, cell mutations can turn these into cancerous. This cancer is common in people around age 50.

The overview, as mentioned earlier, describes the colon cancer in brief. Besides, It can help in approaching early elimination. So, it is better to grab some knowledge about the disease.