Colon cancer is cancer that begins in the large intestine or the rectum. According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. However, an early diagnosis can often lead to a complete cure.

There is no single cause for colon cancer, but you may be at a higher risk of developing it if you are over 60, eat a diet high in red or processed meat, or have a family history of colon cancer.

Colon cancer, in many cases, does not have any symptoms, but occasionally some do occur. They can include:

  • Changes in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation
  • Blood in the stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain and/or tenderness in the lower abdomen

If you feel you are at risk to develop colon cancer or may already be having some of the symptoms mentioned above, contact your physician for a proper screening test as soon as possible.

Anal Cancer Treatment

Anal cancer treatment at Mid Florida Cancer Centers is usually performed with a combination of external beam radiation therapy and chemotherapy. External beam radiation therapy is a form of cancer treatment that uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing.

Anal Cancer Symptoms

  • Rectal bleeding – presence of blood on feces or toilet paper
  • Pain in the anal area
  • Lumps around the anus
  • Mucus-like discharge from the anus
  • Anal itching
  • Change in bowel movements – includes diarrhea, constipation, or thinning of stools
  • Problems controlling bowel movements
  • Bloating
  • Women may experience lower back pain as the tumor exerts pressure on the vagina
  • Women may experience vaginal dryness

Anal Cancer Causes

At this time, there is no known direct cause for anal cancer, however possible risk factors do exist:

  • HPV (human papilloma virus) – HPV-16 and HPV-18 are closely linked to anal cancer. Approximately 80% of patients with anal cancer are infected in the anal area with a form of HPV.
  • Sexual partner numbers – More sexual partners increases the risk being infected with HPV, which increases the risk for anal cancer
  • Receptive anal intercourse – both men and women who receive anal intercourse are more likely to develop anal cancer. HIV-positive gay and bisexual men are 90 times more likely to develop anal cancer than the general population
  • Age – As with most cancers, older age increases the risk for developing anal cancer
  • Smoking – smokers are significantly more likely to develop anal cancer than non-smokers
  • Benign anal lesions – Irritable bowel disease, hemorrhoids, fistulae or cicatrices may increase a person’s risk of developing anal cancer

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is caused from uncontrolled growth in the colon or rectum, or in the appendix, and can be treated at Mid Florida Cancer Centers. The treatment you have will depend on the stage of your cancer. Surgery is the main treatment for colorectal cancer. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be necessary in addition to the surgery to prevent the cancer from returning. Deciding on the best course of cancer treatment depends on several factors, including the type and size of the cancer, the stage and grade of the cancer, and your overall health.

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms

The following are common symptoms of colorectal cancer. However, these symptoms may be caused by another medical condition. See a doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Blood in your stools
  • A change in normal bowel habits including diarrhea or looser stools, lasting longer than 6 weeks
  • A lump that your doctor can feel in your rectum or abdomen
  • A constant feeling of needing to make a bowel movement
  • Losing weight with no explanation
  • Pain in your abdomen or rectum
  • A lower than normal level of red blood cells

Colon Cancer Causes

Some of the common causes and risk factors for colon cancer include:

  • Age – more than 85% of patients diagnosed with colon cancer are over 60 years of age
  • Genetics – family history of colon cancer increases the risk for developing colon cancer
  • Benign polyps in the bowel – growths in the bowel are not cancerous but can develop into cancer over a long period of time
  • Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – Patients that have severe forms of these chronic bowel diseases are at an increased risk for developing colon cancer
  • Personal history of cancer – particularly of the rectum, ovary, endometrium, or breast

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