According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.
Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), which is the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer occurs in the last several inches of your colon.
Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:
A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation, or a change in the consistency of your stool that lasts longer than four weeks
Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
A feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely
Weakness or fatigue
Unexplained weight loss
Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms appear, they'll likely vary, depending on the cancer's size and location in your large intestine.
When to see a doctor
If you notice any symptoms of colon cancer, such as blood in your stool or an ongoing change in bowel habits, do not hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor.
Get screened for colon cancer. People with an average risk of colon cancer can consider screening, beginning at age 50. But people with an increased risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer, should consider screening sooner.
Not all treatments, tests and services are available at all Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Check with your preferred location in advance.