Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer, with 135,00 new cases annually. We all need to be aware of the risk factors for colon cancer, and who needs screening The incidence is highest in African Americans. The risk of colon cancer rises substantially at age 50. This is when screening needs to begin. If you have a family history of colon cancer, colon polyps, or ulcerative colitis you are at increased risk, and require screening at an earlier age. A person with a parent, sibling or child with colon cancer is 2 to 3 times as likely to develop the cancer.

Eighty percent of new colon cancer cases are diagnosed in people with no risk factors. Factors such as diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol use, and obesity may put a person at higher risk. Screening with early detection leads to a cure.

Symptoms of colon cancer may include bleeding, anemia, abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue, and vomiting.

Colon cancer screening includes:

  • Testing for blood in your stool
  • An x-ray of the bowel called a barium enema, or
  • Colonoscopy

Despite an increase in public awareness, only a fraction of adults are being properly screened.