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Bowel Cancer


Updated: July 8, 2007

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Illustration by Donna Myers © 2007

Bowel cancer can occur in the small or large bowel (also known as the small or large intestine). Technically, colorectal cancer is cancer of the large bowel, but it's often referred to simply as bowel cancer. This article discusses cancer of the large bowel.

Since bowel cancer can grow for years without causing any symptoms, it's best to get regular colon cancer screenings. But, knowing what to look out for can't hurt. Examples of bowel cancer symptoms include thin stools, stomach cramping, bright red blood on your poop, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and feeling like you have to "go" when you don't.

Being age 50 or older is the number one risk factor for bowel cancer. Examples of things that researchers believe cause bowel cancer include alcohol, smoking, inflammatory bowel disease, and obesity.

Determining the cancer stage is an important part of choosing an appropriate treatment. In general, the earlier the stage, the easier the cancer is to treat. Surgery is the most common treatment option and is often combined with chemo/radiation to treat late-stage bowel cancer.

For more information, please read What is Colorectal Cancer?

  1. Chemotherapy. Adam Healthcare Center. 27 Aug. 2006 [http://adam.about.com/encyclopedia/002324.htm].
  2. Detailed Guide: Colon and Rectum Cancer: How Is Colorectal Cancer Treated? American Cancer Society. 7 Mar. 2006. 27 Aug. 2006 [http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_4x_How_is_colorectal_cancer_treated_10.asp?sitearea=].
  3. Large Bowel Resection Series. Adam Healthcare Center. 27 Aug. 2006 [http://adam.about.com/encyclopedia/100089.htm].
  4. Radiation Therapy. Adam Healthcare Center. 27 Aug. 2006 [http://adam.about.com/encyclopedia/001918.htm].
Also Known As: colorectal cancer, cancer of the large bowel

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