Colon cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the colon or the large intestine. It’s also called colorectal cancer, which can develop in the colon and rectum at the end of your digestive tract. It is the third most common type of cancer diagnosed in America. In 2022, 106,180 new cases of colon cancer were reported in the U.S.
Colon cancer starts growing inside the colon as small, noncancerous clusters of cells known as polyps. If polyps are left untreated, they can become cancerous and lead to colon cancer. Other risk factors like diet, lifestyle, and age can also cause colon cancer.
But is colon cancer sex-dependent, and can it be prevented?
Colon Cancer in Men vs. Women
Research shows that colon cancer is more common in men than in women. Men show a 50% higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than women. Also, young women aged 18 to 44 years who have colorectal cancer have better chances of survival than men of the same age.
However, about 1 in 23 men (4.3%) and 1 in 25 women (4.0%) are at risk of developing colorectal cancer over their lifetime. So, anyone can get colon cancer, regardless of gender.
Other Risk Factors of Colon Cancer
Other than gender, the risk factors of colon cancer include:
- Age: Colon cancer is rare in people under 40 and more common in people over 50.
- Polyps: A type of polyp called an adenoma can lead to colon cancer over time. Doctors recommend regular screening tests to identify polyps and treat them before they develop into cancerous cells.
- Medical history: You’re more likely to get colon cancer if you’ve had it before. Also, polyps, diabetes, and colon-related diseases like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease can increase your risk of colon cancer.
- Family history: Polyps and colon cancer can be genetic. They can run in your family. If your parents or siblings have had colorectal cancer, you may get it too.
- Diet: If you eat a lot of fatty, cholesterol-rich foods like processed foods or red meat and less fiber or fresh fruits and vegetables, you are more likely to get colon cancer.
- Lifestyle: Drinking a lot of alcohol, smoking, being overweight, and not exercising enough can increase your chances of getting colon cancer.
- Race: African-Americans have a higher risk of getting colon cancer than those of other races.
Tips for Colon Cancer Prevention
To prevent colon cancer, you can start by making small diet and lifestyle changes. For instance, reduce your red meat portions and eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber is good for intestinal health and helps prevent colon or rectal cancer.
Avoid drinking and smoking, as they can increase your risk of colon cancer. If you aren’t physically active, you may want to start exercising regularly. It can help you maintain your weight and keep colorectal cancer away.
Most importantly, get regular screening tests done. Early diagnosis and treatment at the polyp stage can help you prevent the condition from becoming cancerous. Remember that prevention is better than cure.
How NVSCC Can Help
At NVSCC, we offer best-in-class screening and diagnostic tests to detect colorectal cancer in its early stages. Our experienced in-house colorectal surgeons Dr. Stephanie A. Wishnev and Dr. Ren Yu Zhang will guide you through the screening process to prevent colon cancer. If necessary, they’ll also provide you with the best treatment for your condition.Your health is our priority. So, schedule an appointment today and get regular colon cancer screening with NVSCC.