Sharon Osbourn
Sharon Osbourne was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in July of 2002 at the age of 49. At the time, she and her family were filming MTV's hit show The Osbournes. Even though it was a struggle, she still allowed the cameras to roll and film during her times of treatment. She said, "People don't want to talk about colon cancer." Allowing the cameras to come in and document wasn't about the publicity, in her eyes, but saving other peoples' lives and creating awareness about the disease. Before she was diagnosed, Sharon was often tired and she thought she had been working too much. She really had no idea because colon cancer is silent but deadly. Sharon Osbourne is not alone. Over 1.1 million people a year, in the United States alone, face the presence of colon cancer. When Sharon Osbourne was diagnosed, she found out that she had a 33% survival rate because the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Fortunately, Sharon had surgery and entered remission, which she has been in for the past few years. Sharon Osbourne started the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Foundation in association with Cedars Sinai Medical Center in 2004 after her health improved. The goal of the foundation is to provide free screenings, support, and healthcare to those who are affected by the disease and are not able to afford the costs.

Sharon and Kevin Richardson advocate the awareness of colon cancer

In this video, Sharon Osbourne has guest on her talk show, Kevin Richardson, of the Backstreet Boys, who has also been traumatized by colon cancer. Kevin’s dad unfortunately passed away at the age of 49, the same age Sharon was when she was diagnosed, of colon cancer a few years ago. Sharon advocates the awareness of colorectal cancer because it isn’t something that people want to talk about. She truly cares about helping out as many people as she can and getting other celebrities on board is an awesome way.



Colorectal cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in the United States when looking at men and women individually, but the second when sexes are combined, according to the American Cancer Society. It affects over a million people yearly, and is expected to cause death in 49, 380 people in 2011. In the digestive tract, the stomach and the small intestine processes food for energy, while the large intestine, along with the colon and rectum, absorb liquids and send them off to the kidneys, meanwhile taking care of waste products. The large intestine has four major sections, all purposeful for taking care of the digested food to excrete as waste. The wall of the colon and rectum consists of many layers, colorectal cancer beginning in the innermost layer as a polyp. As colon cancer cells are in the wall, they can grow into blood vessels or lymph vessels, which drain fluids, and can eventually go into the lymph nodes. Once the cancer spreads to lymph nodes, it can unfortunately metastasis, or spread, to other parts of the body like the liver. Depending on the progression and how far the cancer is, it is staged one through four.

Read about the staging of Colorectal Cancer here, along with some key stats!

How is colorectal cancer staged?

What are the key statistics about colorectal cancer?


Males are slightly more susceptible to getting colorectal cancer. it is more commonly found in elders than people of younger age. After the age of 40, with every year, the risk increases. In addition, the disease is more common in African Americans than Caucasians in the U.S. Within the last 3 decades, the risk has increased up to 30% for African Americans, with reasons that doctors are still unsure of. From country to country, prevalence of colorectal cancer varies. In more industrialized countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Western Europe, and Australia, rates are much higher than those of Asia, Africa, and South America.


People with colorectal cancer often experience no pain at all and virtually have no idea that they have it. That is why screenings are so important in detecting the disease. Often times, doctors will examine your body for masses and feel around for any abnormalities. Because colon cancer is hard to be aware of, blood tests are done to find out a diagnosis. Also, ultrasounds, CT/CAT scans can determine whether or not someone has cancer. In Sharon Osbourne’s case, she did not feel well and so she had a blood test because the doctors thought that she was anemic, lucky for her, she got the diagnosis before it progressed anymore. Some people though, suffer from blood in the stools, abdominal pains, a change in bowel habits, and uncontrolled weight loss.


According to the American Gastroenterological Association, colon cancer is a leading cancer across the globe that leads to death. Risk factors of colon cancer include men and women over the age of 50, family history of its presence or polyps, Chrohn's disease, smoking cigarettes, Irritable Bowel syndrome, ethnic background, and obesity. All of these factors have an effect on the body that put them at greater risk. As you get older, the body s exposed to more and more carcinogens, cancer-causing factors. Colorectal cancer usually starts as a polyp, but can eventually turn into cancer because of this. In the chart below, you see how colorectal cancer has an effect on all the different races. It is not understood why colon cancer has such an effect on African Americans, but overall, it shows that the disease occurs much more in men than women.


In this chart, it shows the survival rates for the different stages of colorectal cancer between the years of 1998 and 2000. It shows here that the first and second stages have a relatively high survival rate, over a five year span. Unfortunately, it is shown that as the stages progress into the third and fourth, rates drop dramatically, just like most cancers.

Risk Factors:

According to the American Cancer Society, diet has a great affect on the developing of the disease. Eating a lot of red meats or prepackaged meats has shown links. Also, physical inactivity along with being overweight has led to the diagnosis of cancer. With having at least 3 family members with the presence of colon cancer, especially a first degree relative like a parent or sibling, it is recommended to receive genetic testing and get tested.


As of today, there are numerous treatments for colorectal cancer. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are all options. Surgery is a risky factor. Open colectomy, or resection surgery, the most common surgery done for colon cancer, involves removing part of the colon along with some lymph nodes through the abdomen. Pain usually comes for the next few days and is not fun to deal with. However, sometimes surgery is too risky and the only way to do so is to go through chemo, like Sharon Osbourne did, alongside with her surgery. Radiation is usually used when the cancer is attached to the lining of the abdomen. When a surgeon isn’t so certain that the cancer is gone, the radiation will kill the DNA to stop the spread of it. There are risk factors with radiation because it can lead to other types of cancer. Radiation comes with a price though. Many suffer from nausea, vomiting, skin irritation, rectal irritation, fatigue, diarrhea, and trouble urinating. Chemotherapy, very strong drugs, is used to treat cancer, also. Chemotherapy kills the cancerous cells, however, can damage healthy cells at the same time, affecting the immune system. People often suffer from fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, mouth sores, and hair loss. Cancer is a very hard thing to deal with and the treatments, even though they are getting rid of the cancer, are horrendous.


Studies have shown that getting a regular screening for colon cancer, a colonoscopy, has reduced rates because by knowing of the presence of a polyp or the cancer itself, doctors can get a better hold on the cancer. It is recommended you choose healthy foods that maintain a healthy weight, moderation! Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, limit your intake of processed meats, and choose whole grains rather than refined. Multivitamins filled with calcium, Vitamin D, folic acid, and magnesium help reduce the risk of obtaining colon cancer, as well. Taking care of one’s body and making sure you’re always in check, getting routine screenings, and avoiding carcinogens help avoid a dreaded doctor’s appointment with news no one wants to hear.

Sharon’s Cancer

During Sharon Osbourne’s time before she found out that she had colon cancer, she was put on the lap band system because she was overweight. With the Lap Band, Sharon lost over 100 pounds! Being overweight put Sharon at risk from the beginning for developing colorectal cancer. Sharon had no family history of colon cancer. When she had surgery on July 3rd, Sharon had a foot of large intestine removed along with a lymph node tested positive, showing that the cancer had unfortunately gone beyond her colon and spread. Sharon underwent three months of chemotherapy, as well. Luckily, Sharon has been in remission for the past few years, working on bettering her foundation to help those who cannot afford the burden of colorectal cancer.

Read some of these to find out more about colon cancer!

What are the risk factors for colorectal cancer?

Can colorectal cancer be prevented?

Colon Cancer Facts/

Works Cited
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“Colorectal (Colon) Cancer Incidence Rates.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., 4 Apr. 2011. Web. 2 May 2011. <‌Features/‌dsColorectalCancer/‌ >.
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Morgan, John. “Sharon Osbourne Candid About Colorectal Cancer.” USA TODAY 14 Nov. 2003: n. pag. USA TODAY: Health. Web. 2 May 2011. <‌news/‌health/‌spotlighthealth/‌2003-11-14-spothlth-osbourne-_x.htm>.
“National Cancer Institute.” File last modified on Sept. 2010. PDF file.
Richardson, Kevin. Interview by Sharon Osbourne. Kevin Richardson on Colon Cancer. Youtube. N.p., 26 June 2006. Web. 3 May 2011. <‌watch?v=3EVBmbXPyhU>.
Tresca, Amber J. “Sharon Osbourne Battles Colon Cancer.” N.p., 29 Nov. 2003. Web. 4 May 2011. <‌cs/‌activismandibd/‌a/‌sosbourne.htm>. Article was out after Sharon’s surgery and present life struggles the month’s afterward
“What Is Colorectal Cancer?” The American Cancer Society. N.p., 2 Mar. 2002. Web. 4 May 2011. <‌Cancer/‌ColonandRectumCancer/‌DetailedGuide/‌colorectal-cancer-what-is-colorectal-cancer>.