What Men Should Know About Colorectal Cancer

Symptoms and Treatment Options

An illustration showing colorectal cancer.
An illustration showing colorectal cancer. BSIP/UIG/Getty Images

Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, is the third most common form of cancer in men. In 2012, 70,204 men were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 26,866 died from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here's what you should know about the symptoms of colorectal cancer in men, plus treatment options.

What Is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a cancer of the large intestine.

The large intestine is made up of two parts, the colon and the rectum, which is where colorectal cancer starts (it can also be called colon or rectal cancer, depending on where it originates). Most colorectal cancers begin with a growth on the lining of the colon or rectum called a polyp. Not all polyps will turn into cancer, however.

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer in Men

The majority of colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed in people aged 50 years or older. If the disease is caught in its earliest stages, the five-year survival rate is 74 percent. The problem, however, is that there may be no early symptoms. That's why screening is so important. Symptoms may only become apparent once the cancer has reached a more serious stage, and may include:

  • Changes in bowel habits, including diarrhea, constipation, a feeling of an unfinished bowel movement and narrower stools
  • Blood in the stool, showing as either bright red in color or very dark red
  • Abdominal discomfort, such as gas, bloating or fullness, and cramps
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Extreme or constant tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Anemia with no known cause

Treatment Options for Colorectal Cancer

If you're experiencing the symptoms of colorectal cancer, it's important to speak with your doctor. Early treatment can improve your prognosis.

There are currently six treatments used for treating colorectal cancer:

  • Surgery
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Cryosurgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Targeted therapy

Your treatment will vary depending on what stage your cancer is caught at. Surgery is the most common treatment regardless of cancer stage. For more information about colorectal cancer, check out these other helpful resources:

15 Causes of Colon Cancer

Can an Apple a Day Keep Colon Cancer Away?

Diagnosis of Colon Cancer

Top 10 Colon Cancer Prevention Tips


American Cancer Society. "Survival rates for colorectal cancer." Retrieved February 9, 2012.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Top 10 Cancers Among Men." Retrieved February 9, 2012.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, August 20). Colorectal Cancer Statistics. Retrieved February 12, 2016.

National Cancer Institute. (2015, July 22). Colon Cancer Treatment. Retrieved February 12, 2016.

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