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Colon Cancer

Your colon is the longest part of your large intestine. It performs the final processes of digestion, extracting water and nutrients from food before it passes out of the body. Nearly all colon cancers start as noncancerous polyps (knob-like growths that protrude from the wall of the colon) that grow out of tiny glands that line the large intestine. These colon polyps are common and most do not turn into cancer.

Most colorectal cancer occurs due to lifestyle and increasing age. However, with early diagnosis, colon cancer is highly treatable.

Some people have a higher risk for colon cancer. Known risk factors are:

  • Being older than 50
  • Eating a lot of red or processed meats
  • Having colorectal polyps
  • Having a family history of colon cancer
  • Having a personal history of ovarian, uterine or breast cancer

Colon cancer in its early stages often does not cause pain, but it may produce other symptoms, such as blood in the stool, weight loss and fatigue. If you have these symptoms it is important to see your physician.

A variety of screenings and tests are used to detect colon cancer. A fecal occult blood test (FOBT) can reveal even small amounts of blood in stool. If blood is detected, your physician may perform additional tests. Another common screening tool is a colonoscopy.

From diagnosis through treatment and recovery, Indiana University Health physicians have the expertise you need. We customize your care to provide the most-effective, least-invasive treatment so you can enjoy a good quality of life. We take time to learn about you and your family, and work with you to plan treatment around your special needs.

IU Health uses a multidisciplinary approach to fight colon cancer. Our collaborative experts include medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, interventional oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists, dietitians, psychologists, pharmacists, social workers and nurses. We use the power of combined medical expertise and multiple approaches to develop effective, highly personalized treatment plans.

Our physicians are also active in clinical research, developing new treatments through clinical trials and new ways to test for colon cancer. These clinical trials make innovative new medications and techniques available to IU Health patients before they are available elsewhere.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Colon Cancer Treatment Information

Our colon cancer experts use a variety of treatments to identify and combat this disease. These include:


Colon Cancer Locations & Physicians

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Find a Specialist

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Colon Cancer Support Services

Learning about colon cancer may help you prevent it. Use these resources to find out more about what you can do to help yourself, or someone you love, live with colon cancer.