Recognizing, Diagnosing & Treating Colorectal Cancer

Published on September 01, 2020

Recognizing, Diagnosing and Treating Colon and Rectal Cancers:
A Preventive Discussion with Bronson Specialists

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in both American men and women. The rate at which Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer is dropping among older adults, however, is on the rise in those under age 50. Bronson colon and rectal surgeons want you know the warning signs to look for, and the risk factors that can put you at an increased risk of developing colon cancer and rectal cancer.

What is colon cancer?

Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. Together, they're often referred to as colorectal cancers. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers. It is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among men and women, and is expected to cause about 53,200 deaths during 2020(cancer.org).

What are some of the risk factors?

Some factors that may increase your risk of colon cancer include:

  • Age: Most common in people over the age of 50 with an increased chance of getting colorectal cancer with each decade
    • Although the death rates for colorectal cancer have been on the decline, the death rates for those under age 55 has increased 1 percent per year between 2008 and 2017.
  • Personal history: People with history of colitis and/or colon polyps; women who have a history of ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer have a somewhat higher risk of developing colorectal cancer
  • Family history: Siblings and children of a person who has had colorectal cancer are more likely to develop colorectal cancer themselves

This is not an all-inclusive list. Talk with your primary care provider to determine if you have other risk factors.

How often should I be screened?

People with an average risk of colon cancer should consider screening beginning at age 50 and every 10 years thereafter. But people with an increased risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer, should consider screening sooner and more frequently. African-Americans and American Indians may consider beginning colon cancer screening at age 45 since these individuals are at a higher risk of developing the disease.

How can I reduce my risk?

There are a number of steps that you can take to reduce your risk of colon cancer by making changes in your everyday life. This includes:

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and decrease red meat intake.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
  • Exercise a minimum of four days per week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Colon & Rectal Services at Bronson

Our board certified specialists are here for you for every step of your colorectal health journey. The team at Bronson Colon & Rectal Surgery Specialists specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of colon and rectal polyps and cancers. If you receive a colorectal cancer diagnosis, trust your care to our nationally-recognized cancer team in Battle Creek, or the six new oncologists joining our cancer team in Kalamazoo in January, 2021.

Bronson Colon & Rectal Surgery Specialists

3770 Capital Ave. SW, Suite A
Battle Creek, MI 49015
(269) 441-1771

601 John St., Suite M-302
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 341-4890

212 Winston Drive
Marshall, MI 49068
(269) 441-1771

404 Hazen St., Suite 101
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 341-4890

Mahesh C. Karamchandani, MD, FACS, FASCRS, FICS

Sridhar Chalasani, MD, FACS, MS

Edward A. Itawi, MD


Bronson Cancer Services

Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center
300 North Ave.
Battle Creek, MI 49068
(269) 245-6350

Bronson Oncology & Hematology Specialists - Kalamazoo: COMING JANUARY 2021

Learn about Bronson's expanding cancer program.


For additional information on colorectal cancer, you are encouraged to visit cancer.org or speak with your primary care provider. Looking for a Bronson doctor? For a complete list of providers at Bronson, visit bronsonhealth.com/find-a-doctor or call Bronson HealthAnswers at (269) 341-7723.

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