Symptoms are usually pretty subtle. Blood in stool seems to be the most obvious symptom. I believe irregular bowel movements, bloating, cramping, and occasional pain may also follow. It is usually recommended to get a colonoscopy done at 50. So I assume colon cancer risk increases with age. However, I went to school with a girl who died from colon cancer at 12, so age doesn't mean everything.
There are definitely treatments for colon cancer. They can surgically remove the tumor and even some of your colon without causing too many problems. If it's a large tumor they may need to remove it entirely and give you a colostomy. This can be reversible if they don't remove too much. The colostomy bags are very frustrating, but it doesn't have to take control of your life. My grandmother was still able to do a water aerobics class with one. Treatment then usually involved chemotherapy and/or radiation. Chemo can be pretty nasty, but I wholeheartedly believe it's the best bet for fighting cancer. Because the blood vessels are typically what deliver the cancer killing chemo, and because the lower abdominal organs are pretty cut off from the rest of the body sometimes the chemo drugs are a lot.
There have been recent studies done at the University of Washington where they have a "body wash". This has been shown to be extremely effective. Instead of giving you the drugs intravenously or through pill form they put it directly on the tumor itself. They then "swish" your belly around for 8 hours while you are out. This is a pretty extreme treatment, so they don't recommend it for anyone with less than stage 3 colon cancer. My grandmother was also denied for this study because she was deemed unlikely to survive the operation. She was 65 at the time with diabetes, hypertension, and heart problems. So this is theoretically an option. But it is still in the FDA approval process and while it has been going on for a decade it is still considered "clinical".
Rectal bleeding, bloody stools, bloating, pain, etc can be caused by many things so it's not necessarily cancer. However, if you have these symptoms please see a doctor and get an colonoscopy. My grandmother didn't get a colonoscopy at 50 and didn't see the doctor when she started having blood in stools. So it was found when it was already at stage 3 (the tumor they discovered was the size of a grapefruit and they had to remove her entire colon and part of her bladder). Fast forward 4 years, now she's terminal. Her doctors estimated it was growing for over 5 years before it was found- early detection could have saved her life.
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