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Colon Cancer

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Updated July 10, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Digestive System

Colon cancer commonly begins with the growth of polyps in the large intestine.

Photo © National Cancer Institute
Definition: Cancer that is located in the large intestine (colon) or the rectum. Colorectal cancer may begin with the growth of polyps in the colon. Polyps that are removed, such as during a colonoscopy, do not pose a risk of cancer, but polyps that remain in the colon may grow and become cancerous.

Risk factors for the development of colon cancer include:

Symptoms of colon cancer can include:

It's recommended that people who are at risk for colorectal cancer get screened on a regular basis. Screening options for those over the age of 50 include:

Screening options and intervals for people who are at high risk of colon cancer may be different. If you are concerned about your risk of colon cancer and when and how you should be screened, speak to your physician.

Pronunciation: COH-luhn CAN-sir
Also Known As: colorectal cancer, bowel cancer

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