Colon cancer can affect people of any age. However, it is relatively more common in elderly people. Therefore, age is one of the risk factors. In other words, the risk increases with age. For instance, it is quite common in women over 60. The symptoms can be vogue, but there are some warning signs you should not ignore!
In the U.S, it is the 3rd common cancer in both women and men. It is also the 3rd leading cause of cancer death, according to CDC (the centers for disease control and prevention).
The mortality rate of this cancer is pretty high since it often doesn’t cause any symptom at its early stages (the time of when it is most likely to be treated or even cured) so thus there are still lots of patients diagnosed with late stages.
If the early symptoms do occur, these can be vogue, too as noted before. These include change in bowel movement, pain (especially pain in the abdomen or/and pelvic), and blood in the stool. For more information about these symptoms, you can read in this section!
In other words, we cannot only rely on the symptoms to diagnose it as early as possible. Screening test is necessary to help catch it early.
Since age is the main risk factor, the screening test is usually recommended in the age of 50. You may be asked to take it earlier if you have many risk factors of the disease.
Again, age can play a role to increase the risk of the disease, but it is not the only one. In fact, not all elderly people develop colon cancer. This suggests that it is likely to be triggered by more than one factor.
Other risk factors of this cancer include:
- A family history of the same condition.
- A personal history of the disease. If you have had it, there is a chance to have it for the second time.
- It occurs more often in African-American, followed by Caucasian and Hispanic.
- Previous cancer treatments. For instance, there is a chance for radiation used to treat previous cancer affects the stomach area, and this may increase the risk of colon cancer.
- Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, obesity, smoking and heavy drinking.
Other health conditions may increase the risk, too. These include chronic inflammatory conditions, diabetes, Lynch syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, etc. See more about these risk factors in this post!
Though the risk increases with age, but 5-year survival rate shows different pattern! In the U.K, the rate of 5-year survival is highest in patients those aged between 60 and 69. On the other hand, the survival rate of those in the younger age groups (40-59) is slightly lower.
However, treating the disease in seniors is not easy for several reasons. The general health status of patient is usually one of the major concerns. As well we know that in general, the senior health is not as health as when they were younger.
However, your age should not prevent you taking the treatment. Cancer is cancer, and it can be serious and life-threatening if left untreated. Each treatment that you take usually has benefits that outweigh the risks!