Colon Cancer

This year alone, 148,000 men and women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer. When found early, there is a 90% chance for a cure. Armed with the most advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies available, the Saint Thomas Health team of colorectal cancer specialists is improving outcomes for thousands throughout Middle Tennessee.

Early detection is the key to preventing colon cancer. In most cases, colon cancers begin as small, non-cancerous growths on the colon wall called polyps. As the polyps grow, they can cause bleeding or obstructions in the intestine.

Often colorectal cancer is asymptomatic in its earliest stages. That is why everyone at the age of 50 should get a colonoscopy. During this test, a physician can detect precancerous polyps and remove them or find cancer at an early treatable stage.

Colon cancer can be hereditary. If you have a history of colon cancer in your family, it is important for you have your first colonoscopy 10 years earlier than when your family member was diagnosed. For example, if a family member was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 52, have a colonoscopy when you are 42.

To schedule a colonoscopy, call 615.284.CARE (2273) today.

Colon Cancer Symptoms

  • Blood in toilet or stool after a bowel movement
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Prolonged constipation or diarrhea
  • An urge to have a bowel movement when there is no need
  • A change in the size or shape of your stool
You should see your doctor if one or more of these symptoms persists for more than two weeks.

Take the Test: Colon Cancer Risk Factors

Answering yes to one or more of these questions does not mean that you will develop colon cancer, but your risk may be higher than average.
  1. Are you over 50 years of age?
  2. Do you have a personal history of colon cancer or polyps?
  3. Have you experienced long-standing inflammatory diseases of the colon?
  4. Has a parent, sibling or child been diagnosed with colon cancer?
  5. Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle: getting physical exercise (walking, jogging, etc.) less than twice each week?
  6. Do you have diabetes?
  7. Would you be considered obese?
  8. Do you smoke?
  9. Do you consume large amounts of alcohol?
  10. Have you ever had radiation in the abdominal area to treat cancer?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may want to consult your physician to discuss these important warning signs.