Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer or bowel cancer, is cancer of the large intestine or rectum. The majority of cases start with the growth of small benign clusters of cells (polyps), which develop into cancerous growths.
Certain inherited gene mutations, diabetes, smoking, heavy alcohol intake, obesity and family history of the condition, may increase the risk of colon cancer developing. High fat and low fiber diets have also been linked with colon cancer. High-risk patients, particularly those over 50 years of age should have regular screenings for colon cancer.
Symptoms of colon cancer include changes in bowel habits or movements, rectal bleeding, blood in stools, abdominal discomfort, weakness, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.
Treatment options for those with colon cancer include surgery to remove growths, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Drug classes commonly prescribed as part of treatment include pyrimidine analogs, and protein kinase inhibitors, and antineoplastic monoclonal antibodies.