ABC Medical Center > Colon and rectal cancer

What is Colon and rectal cancer?

13:29 - 9 April , 2021


This type of tumor usually appears after the age of 50 and predominates in old age, although it can also occur in young adults. This type of cancer is one of the main causes of death from neoplasms worldwide. In Mexico, colorectal cancer causes more than 1,600 deaths a year, affecting men and women equally.

Main causes:

  • A sedentary lifestyle.
  • A high-fat, low-fiber diet.
  • Habits such as alcoholism and smoking.
  • History of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, colon polyps, or Crohn’s disease.
  • Genetic factors, since up to 25% of patients have a relative who has suffered from the condition.

Signs and symptoms Colon and rectal cancer

There are patients who experience mild symptoms, such as fatigue, weight loss, and abdominal pain, along with diarrhea episodes followed by constipation, and the appearance of blood and/or mucus in the stool. As the disease progresses, breathing problems and joint discomfort may develop. 

It is important to remember that several of these symptoms are not exclusive to colorectal cancer, so you should always consult your doctor. 

Diagnosis and treatment Colon and rectal cancer

It begins with the patient’s medical history, a physical examination, and a blood test. Later you might need:

  • Gastrointestinal tract contrast x-ray.
  • A colonoscopy to look inside the colon and rectum. 
  • Scans, CT scans, or biopsy to examine damaged tissues.


As in all cancer cases, treatment will depend on age, general condition, and pre-existing diseases. Although other factors must also be considered, such as the type of tumor and its stage of development. All these aspects will indicate the type of treatment to choose, either chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or a combination thereof.


  • mayoclinic.org
  • cancer.org
  • cancer.net
  • Menéndez-Sánchez P, Villarejo-Campos P, Padilla-Valverde D, et al. Marcadores tumorales en el cáncer colorrectal. Cir Cir. 2013;81(2):169-175.
  • Piñeiro FAI, Álvarez GAE, González-Velázquez VE, et al. Enfermedades colorrectales en pacientes mayores de 45 años. Universidad Médica Pinareña. 2019;15(3):378-387.
  • American Cancer Society. Detailed Guide: Colon and Rectum Cancer [Internet]. 2014. [Consultado 2021 enero 9].
  • Cáncer del colon y del recto. Medline Plus [Internet]. 2018 oct 15[Consultado 2021 enero 9]. 
  • American Cancer Society. Estadísticas importantes sobre el cáncer colorrectal [Internet]. Atlanta: American Cancer Society 2017 [Consultado 2021 enero 8]. 
  • Cubiellaa J, Marzo-Castillejob M, Mascort-Rocac JJ, et al. Guía de práctica clínica: Diagnóstico y prevención del cáncer colorrectal. Gastroenterol Hepatol [Internet]. 2018 [Consultado 2021 enero 8];41(9):585-96. 
  • Hano García O, Wood Rodríguez L, Galbán García E, et al. Factores de riesgo para el cáncer colorrectal. Rev Cubana de Medicina [Internet]. 2011 [Consulado 2021 enero 8];50(2):118-32. 

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