Mayo Clinic says it is not clearly understood what causes colon cancer. Cancer mainly forms when healthy cells in the colon become damaged. Healthy cells grow and divide as needed to keep the body functioning properly. However, when cancerous cells form, they continue to divide even when the body doesn’t need it. The buildup of the unnecessary cells ultimately leads to the creation of a tumor.
While the exact cause is unclear, there are risk factors that can increase the likeliness of a person developing colon cancer at some point in his or her life. Mayo Clinic indicates that the following gene mutations can increase the chances of colon cancer:
– Over the age of 50
– Family history of colon cancer
– Intestinal issues
– Low-fiber and high-fat diet
– Alcohol consumption
– Radiation therapy
The most troubling thing about colon cancer is that it doesn’t always have symptoms. However, according to WebMD, there are a few things you should watch out for. Common signs include:
– Dark blood in the stool
– Pain in the abdomen
– Abdominal bloating
– Unexplained weight loss
– Loss of appetite
– Pain in the pelvis (WebMD indicates that this is usually associated with late-stage cancer)
Treatment options vary depending on the size and location of the tumor as well the general health of the patient. According to MedicineNet, surgery is usually the most common treatment plan. However, chemotherapy can also be an option for prolonging a person’s life or helping reduce the likelihood of recurrence for people who are at high-risk.