Colon cancer is currently the second most common cancer in the United States, and causes over 50,000 deaths in the country each year; and for the record, which is about as many American soldiers that died in the entire Vietnam conflict. This is an especially tragic and frustrating fact because the majority of the deaths caused by colon cancer could have been prevented or reduced.
The symptoms include pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, blood in the feces, and sometimes constipation or sometimes even blocked bowel movements. It can range from very mild, and to extremely severe. There are cases of colon cancer that are almost without symptoms until the latest stages.
It is not a good idea to wait until you have noticeable sign before learning about the disease and taking some action. Once you've developed such symptoms, the disease has probably entered into the middle or late stages, and there is a high chance that it has spread to other areas of your body. Once it has spread to other parts of your body, your likelihood of survival lowers dramatically.
If you catch colon cancer in the earlier stages, there is an extremely high chance that you will recover and survive well. Over 90% of people who are diagnosed with an early stage are able to undergo a successful surgical removal of the cancer before it spreads to other parts. It is important to note that in the beginning stages, the signs are rarely noticeable, so it is only those who regularly go for a colonoscopy or other colon exam that will be able to catch the disease early.
This cancer also has a high tendency to run in families. There is a genetic trait for developing 'polyps' that can be passed down from one generation to the next, and this trait vastly increases your odds of getting the disease. If you parents, grandparents, or siblings have even been diagnosed with this disease, there is a good chance you may have this polyp gene, and it is especially important that you get checked regularly once you reach the age of 40.
Clearly, it is extremely important to get a regular colon exam, irregardless of whether the disease runs in your family or not. Also, contrary to some myths, women are as likely to develop colon cancer as compare to men. People of African decent seem to be especially prone to such disease, and should consider getting their first exam starting even earlier than age 40. No one likes the thought of a colon exam, as they are certainly unpleasant, but late stage colon cancer are definitely worse to have.