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Causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention

Colon and rectal cancer share many similar characteristics that are common in both men and women. However, they usually do not show any immediate symptoms, so it is necessary to recognize them as soon as they appear in order to apply effective and prompt treatment.

What is colon and rectal cancer?

Colon cancer, also called colon or rectal cancer, begins in the last part of the colon when tumors form in the inner or outer lining of the colon near the colon or rectum. They are generally more common in men and women over the age of 50.

causes of cancer

This cancer occurs when small growths called polyps, which can be considered precancerous lesions (adenomas), form in the inner part of the colon. Polyps tend to gradually develop into cancer, they are a health hazard.

A polyp can become cancer if:
– it measures more than a centimeter,
– more than one polyp is present in the same area
– After the polyp is removed, there are strange and abnormal cells around it.

Only histological (microscopic) examination of a biopsy or the polyp itself confirms its benign character. The endoscopic aspect is misleading and can in no case be sufficient.

signs and symptoms

It may take some time before symptoms that indicate colon cancer appear. Therefore, it is advisable to be very cautious if you notice any of these signs repeatedly. You can feel them like it’s just an ache in your stomach until it gets stronger.

The main symptoms range from constipation or diarrhea to chronic urges to use the toilet, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, muscle weakness or weight loss and heavy fluid consumption.


Any polyp diagnosed should be removed during the colonoscopy if it is not too large or if there are not many of them. In these cases, surgical removal of part of the colon may be necessary (we’re talking about polypectomy).

A microscopic examination of the structure and organization of the polyp is required: excisional biopsy, simple biopsy or surgical sample.

Several methods are used to treat rectal or colon cancer, depending on the patient’s medical condition, personal choice and the stage of the cancer. In local cancers, surgery is systematically resorted to to remove the tumors as quickly as possible. Systemic, or general, treatments include options such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or the use of anti-cancer drugs.

Preventive methods include a healthy lifestyle, regular visits to the doctor, and paying attention to a sudden change in body anatomy and daily bowel movements.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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