Colorectal cancer — also referred to as colon cancer — is cancer that develops in the large intestine (colon) or the rectum. It occurs when abnormal cells in the colon develop and grow out of control. Colorectal cancer risk factors Colorectal cancer typically affects older adults, especially men older than 50. It can develop in men and women at any age. Other risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing it, including: Being African American Having a history of smoking or tobacco use Having a family history of colorectal cancer Having an inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease Having a diet that is high in fat and low in fiber Experiencing a change in bowel movements, blood in your stool or abdominal pain While these factors can increase your risk for colorectal cancer, the disease can still affect people who have none of them. Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer Symptoms of colorectal cancer can include: A change in bowel habits that lasts for more than a few days, such as diarrhea, constipation or a feeling that your bowel is not empty after a bowel movement Bright red or very dark blood in your stool Constant fatigue Stools that are thinner than usual Stools that look slimy or have mucus on them Ongoing gas pains, bloating, fullness or cramps Unexplained weight loss Vomiting Generally, any change in your regular bowel habits should be discussed with your doctor. Early detection is the best prevention The No.1 way to help prevent colorectal cancer is through receiving regular screening exams, such as a colonoscopy.It’s recommended that regular screenings begin around age 50, or earlier depending on risk factors. Speak with your doctor to find out if it’s time to have a colonoscopy. Age 50 or older and in reasonably good health? Learn how you may be able to fast track your colonoscopy. Learn More Expert-led cancer care at Tanner The gastroenterology specialists and the cancer care team at Tanner offer a comprehensive, team-based approach to colorectal cancer care. Our team of compassionate experts work with you every step of the way to develop a care plan that’s right for you. To find a specialist at Tanner, use the Find a Provider option or call 770-214-CARE(2273). Know Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer Take our free assessment to learn your risk for colorectal cancer. A Brief Guide to Colonoscopy Prep This guide can help you prepare for your colonoscopy. Reduce Your Cancer Risk Learn more about colorectal cancer and how to reduce your risk.