Cancer of the colon and rectum is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among adults. However, it is also among the most identifiable and, in multiple scenarios, preventable cancers with routine screenings. Since next month is colon cancer awareness month, Adult Gastroenterology Associates endeavors to share colon cancer facts and information that can help preserve your overall health.
Adult Gastroenterology Associates remains on the cutting edge of digestive health and supports individuals and their family members when receiving a diagnosis and treatment for colon or rectal cancer. To find out more about our experienced team of gastrointestinal specialists or to find a colonoscopy doctor near you, reach out to our gastroenterology office in Tulsa, Oklahoma today.
What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells that starts in either the large intestine (colon) or rectum and is also called bowel cancer or colon cancer. Colorectal cancer is very common. In fact, 1 in 25 women and 1 in 23 men will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer at some point during their life. Per the American Cancer Society, nearly 150,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancer were diagnosed in 2021.
What are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?
It could take approximately ten years for a premalignant growth (polyp) in the colon or rectum to transition into cancer, and in the early stages, colon cancer is unlikely to exhibit any apparent symptoms or other indications. In the event an individual is having indications of colon cancer, they may experience:
- A change in bowel habits
- Ongoing diarrhea
- An unexplained loss of weight
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Blood in stool
Should you or a loved one have any of these colorectal cancer symptoms, get in touch with Adult Gastroenterology Associates as soon as possible.
What are the Colon and Rectal Cancer risk factors?
Although the exact reason behind colorectal cancer is unclear, there are a number of factors that seemingly place some people at an increased risk. Such risk factors are:
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
People diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis have a higher chance of getting colorectal cancer.
Though colon and rectal cancer can arise in younger patients, about 88% of new cases diagnosed occur in patients over 50, but during recent years, there has been a trend in the direction of earlier diagnosis. As a result, this has revised the recommended age for routine screening to 45.
Family history of colon cancer
Around 25 – 30% of individuals with colon cancer have a family member who also has been diagnosed with the disease.
How is Colon and Rectal Cancer Diagnosed?
Colorectal cancer is generally detected and diagnosed during a cancer screening process, such as a colonoscopy. Even though colorectal cancer is commonly very treatable if discovered early, around one out of three U.S. adults are not up to date on their colon cancer evaluations. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention surmises that about 68% of deaths resulting from colon cancer could be averted if all eligible individuals remained up to date on their colonoscopy screenings.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests you receive your first colonoscopy at age 45 years old if you are of average risk. To schedule a colorectal cancer screening in Tulsa, get in touch with an Adult Gastroenterology Associates office near you.
Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer in Tulsa
When found beginning stages, the prognosis for colon and rectal cancer is generally very favorable. Cancer that has not developed farther than the colon or rectum can often be successfully addressed with a five-year survival rate of about 90%. If you would like to learn more about colorectal cancer screenings, please get in touch with our team today.
The physician-led network of GI doctors at Adult Gastroenterology Associates looks forward to helping you protect your health.