Colorectal Cancer: The Silent Killer

In the last few weeks, colon cancer was frequently featured in the news because of the passing of a few public figures due to colon cancer. They were actress Kirstie Alley age 71, Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin age 61, Broadway actor Quentin Oliver Lee age 34, and Ronnie Turner, Tina Turner’s son, age 62, and Pelé age 82. Because of this, we knew it was essential to share updated information about this disease and the importance of getting screened.

Colon Cancer rates and incidences for 2022

Colorectal cancer is now the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, over 52,000 Americans will die from colon cancer by the end of 2022, of these, 12% will be individuals younger than 50. This is one of the reasons why the age for colon cancer screenings has been lowered from 50 to 45.

Estimated new cases and deaths of colorectal cancer 2022

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Colon cancer is called the silent killer because the early stages of colon cancer often have no symptoms; it is why we strongly encourage colon cancer screenings to detect and prevent colon cancer. If caught at an early stage there is a 90% chance of surviving colon cancer.

As the tumor grows, it may bleed or block the intestine. The most common symptoms are:

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Blood in the stool or the toilet after having a bowel movement
  • Dark or black stools
  • A change in bowel habits or the shape of the stool (e.g., more narrow than usual)
  • Cramping, pain, or discomfort in the lower abdomen
  • An urge to have a bowel movement when the bowel is empty
  • Constipation or diarrhea that lasts for more than a few days
  • Decreased appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss

If you have any of these symptoms or do not have symptoms but are age 45 and older, we strongly encourage you to schedule your screening colonoscopy. It can literally, save your life.


Digestive Health Specialists, PA is here to help if you, or someone you know, would like more information, or if you are experiencing any digestive health symptoms and would like further evaluation. Feel free to give us a call at 336-768-6211 or fill out the form below.