Points of Pride

About Colon Cancer

There is no such thing as a routine colon cancer. Every patient’s colon cancer is different, with different, individually unique genes and molecules driving each person’s specific cancer.

At the OSUCCC – James, our colon cancer specialists are world-renowned cancer experts who focus solely on colon cancer and who reach across medical disciplines (oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, pharmacists and more) to design the very best treatment plan and therapies to target each patient’s specific cancer.

And by offering access to the country’s most advanced clinical trials right here at the OSUCCC – James, patients know that additional options, when needed, are often available for their treatment and care.

Colon cancer begins in the colon, which is part of the body’s digestive system. The colon’s main function is to absorb waste from the small bowel. Waste from the stomach passes into the bowel and then moves into the colon, which is part of the large intestine. The intestine is a long, muscular tube that processes and passes waste from the colon to the rectum and then out of the body.

About 145,000 colon cancer cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. The lifetime risk for developing colon cancer is about 6 percent, but some people are at higher risk for developing colon cancer because of a family history of the disease or other diseases.

Adults who are not at high risk for colon cancer should begin having screening exams at age 50. People who are at higher risk because of a personal or family history of colon or rectal cancer, colorectal polyps or inflammatory bowel disease should be screened before they turn 50.

Gastrointestinal Anatomy

Types of Colon Cancer

The most frequently diagnosed type of colon cancer is called adenocarcinoma, which begins in the lining of the colon.

Other rare types of colon cancer include:

  • Sarcomas, a cancer that usually starts in soft tissues such as muscles but also can occur in the colon
  • Neuroendocrine or carcinoid tumor
  • Scirrhous tumor
  • MANEC (mixed adenoneuroendocrine carcinoma)
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor, which is a type of soft tissue sarcoma
  • Lymphoma, a cancer that usually starts in a patient’s immune system but may sometimes begin in other organs such as the colon

Colon Cancer Symptoms

Having colon cancer can affect a person’s digestive system. Symptoms of colon cancer may include:

  • A change in bowel habits, including more or less frequent bowel movements
  • Blood (either bright red, very dark or black) in the stool
  • Diarrhea, constipation or feeling that the bowel does not empty all the way
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or cramps
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Feeling excessively tired
  • Vomiting

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have colon cancer. But if you have symptoms, you should tell your doctor, especially if symptoms have continued for longer than a few weeks.

If you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a colon cancer specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

Toward a Cancer-Free World Blog

When it comes to colorectal cancers, there are specific disparities among different populations, especially in Ohio. Read More

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

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