Can Women Get Colon Cancer?
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths for American men and women.
About 135,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. Men have a slightly higher risk of colon cancer than women, but it can occur in both genders at any age.
Many symptoms can be red flags to see your doctor right away if you notice them. But keep in mind there are colon cancers with no symptoms, so it's essential to get checked by your health care provider even if you don't experience any colon signs or symptoms.
• Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
• Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation
• A feeling that your bowel does not empty after a bowel movement
• Weakness and fatigue
• Weight loss for no known reason
• Nausea, indigestion, or anemia (not enough healthy red blood cells)
It's crucial to note cancer symptoms may resemble other health problems. It's best to talk with your doctor to determine the cause of these symptoms.
Other colon cancer signs include:
• Unexplained weight loss
• Abdominal pain
Fewer than half of newly diagnosed colorectal cancers are within the average age range (55 years or younger). Even though colon cancer can occur at any age, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 80 percent of colon cancers and 90 percent of rectal cancers are found in people over 50 years old.
What Causes Colon Cancer?
The exact cause of colon cancer is unknown; however, experts know it develops from gradual changes in your colon cells. Aging, genetics, and lifestyle factors like smoking increase the risk for colon cancer. Certain medical conditions increase the risk of colon cancer, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.
Symptoms may result from colon cancer due to blockage or twisting of the part(s) of the colon by a tumor other mass. The symptoms depend on where colon cancer is located.
For example, colon cancer in the colon's upper area may cause blood in the stool or a change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation. Colon cancer that develops further down the colon may block the passage of stool and cause abdominal pain and cramping on either side of your abdomen. The discomfort can continue even after a bowel movement because part of the colon remains blocked by a tumor.
Diagnosis is often confirmed during a colonoscopy. During this procedure, your doctor will insert a colonoscope - a long, flexible tube with a tiny camera attached to it – into your rectum and slowly guide it up through your colon until the entire organ can be seen clearly on a video monitor.
Colonoscopy is a colon cancer screening test that can find colon polyps before they become colon cancer. Colonoscopies also can look for other colon diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colon infections.
If you are 50 years or older, your doctor will likely recommend having a colonoscopy once every ten years as part of the colorectal cancer screening recommended by leading medical associations, including those from ACS, the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology (ACR). If you have a history of colon polyps or certain types of IBD – such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis – your doctor may advise colonoscopies more often.
Can Women Get Colon Cancer?
The short answer is yes, and colon cancer can affect women. Symptoms in women are similar to symptoms experienced by men.
In general, colon cancer symptoms may include:
• Rectal bleeding or blood on the stool
• Changes in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation
• A feeling that your bowel doesn't empty after a bowel movement