Colon cancer is one of common cancers in some countries. Even in the U.S, it is the second leading cause of cancer-related death, according to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Typically, it is commonly found at the age of 50 or older. Therefore, age is one of the main risk factors. How about gender? Is it more common in men or women?
Colon is one of crucial parts of your bowel. It is also called as the large intestine. And the last 6 inches of colon, you have rectum (another essential part of the bowel that connects colon to anus).
In addition, cancers that originally start growing in the colon (colon cancer) and rectum (rectal cancer) are often referred to as colorectal cancers. And in general, cancer of colon is more common than cancer of rectum.
Colon cancer usually grows and develops slowly. Many times, it starts growing from a polyp (a small non-cancerous growth). This pre-cancerous phase then will be followed by earliest stage of cancer called CIS (carcinoma in situ) or stage 0. See in-depth information about the stages of colon cancer in this section!
The pre-cancerous phase is the most likely to cure the cancer. Experts believe when polyp growths are successfully removed, the cancer can be prevented. Typically, the entire process of a polyp growth becoming cancerous cell takes several years.
In other words, it’s important to catch and diagnose the existence of any polyp or/and cancerous cell in the colon as early as possible. See also some essential steps to prevent colon cancer in this post!
The bad news, it usually doesn’t cause any early sign and symptom. If the symptoms do occur, they can be vogue, too.
For instance, abdominal pain is one of the main symptoms. But it can signal numerous different health conditions.
Blood in the stool may be the most worried symptom. But having this symptom doesn’t mean you definitely have colorectal cancer. Because it can be attributed by several causes, too!
See more detailed information about colon cancer symptoms in here!
It can affect both men and women equally. For instance, in 2011, there are about 65,161 women and 70,099 men were diagnosed with colorectal cancers in the U.S, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This most recent year number statistic shows that it affects slightly higher in men than in women. But the number difference is not significant. This suggests that the risk of developing the disease is almost the same for both women and men!
In general, cancer of colon is not gender-specific. It affects both men and women almost equally, though it may slightly more common in men, as noted before. So gender is not the risk factor, see also the main risk factors of colon cancer!
Although the disease is not attributed by gender, but some studies find that the way of how it develops may be slightly different between in men and women – there are several differences in its presence!
It seems that men are more likely to develop this cancer at younger age than women. Furthermore, colon cancer in men tends to occur at lower part of the bowel (farther down the colon and rectum).
On the other hand, women tend to have it at older ages than do men. And their cancer tends to occur higher up in the bowel, particularly as they get older.
This finding is important because it can have a significant implication in the way of screening should be done! As well we know, screening test is required for both men and women over 50 in order to find and diagnose the cancer in the bowel as early as possible.
Sigmoidoscopy (a common procedure in screening test that is primarily intended to observe the back passage and lower part of the bowel) is a common procedure for screening colon cancer, including for women. And if there is a cancer in the upper part of the large intestine, the cancer would be missed if you take screening with only sigmoidoscopy!
The bad news, women may be less likely to have another screening test called colonoscopy, a procedure that can help observe the whole of the inside of the large intestine. Colonoscop works better than sigmoidoscopy.
Furthermore, colonoscopy is not as practical as sigmoidoscopy. Therefore, doctors are more likely to recommend colonoscopy if they do believe that there is something wrong with your bowel!