American Cancer Society expects an estimated 50,400 men to be diagnosed
with colon cancer in 2004. Of these new cases, about 28,320 will
die of the disease. In the last 30 years, mortality rates have
fallen 31 percent for women diagnosed with colon cancer. Unfortunately,
that decline doesn't apply to men, whose mortality rate from colon
cancer has only dropped by 9 percent.
signs of colon cancer include rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, or
a change in bowel habits. Most often, however, colon cancer has no symptoms
until it's too late. The American Cancer Society recommends a stool
blood test and a sigmoidoscopy after the age of 50 to detect colon cancer
in patients who don't show any symptoms. These tests offer the best
opportunity to remove polyps before they become cancerous.
If your test reveals possible problems, more extensive
as colonoscopy (exam of the entire colon) and barium enema (an X-ray
to view the intestines) may be needed.