Comprising the largest part of your large bowel, the colon absorbs nutrients and water from food that has moved through the small intestine. The end segment of the large bowel is referred to as the rectum. Sometimes, small growths of cells (called polyps) arise in the inner surface of the colon or rectum. These polyps often carry few to zero symptoms; however, these growths can transition into colorectal cancer. Because they are very similar, colon and rectal cancer are frequently grouped together.
A concerning disease, colorectal cancer is the second leading reason behind cancer-related fatalities in women, after cancer of the breast. Periodic colon and rectal cancer screenings can catch signs of colon cancer early and greatly enhance a person’s prognosis. You can schedule a colonoscopy and other related colon cancer screenings at Adult Gastroenterology Associates. If you’re searching for a skilled gastroenterologist in Tulsa, Oklahoma you can rely on, partner with our team to guard against colon cancer and other GI conditions.
What are the symptoms of colon and rectal cancer?
Colon and rectal cancer start in the large intestine. Many people with colon or rectal cancer will show no signs or symptoms in the initial stages. Those who do show signs or symptoms could notice the following:
- Persistent abdominal cramping or pain
- Blood in stool or rectal bleeding
- Inexplicable loss of weight
- A difference in bowel habits
If you or someone you love is experiencing any of these indications, get in touch with Adult Gastroenterology Associates in Tulsa as soon as possible to visit with a GI specialist.
In cases where a malignant polyp invades into the external wall of the large bowel, it can enter into the blood vessels or lymph system and move to additional areas of the body. Those whose colon or rectal cancer has metastasized beyond the large bowel have substantially lower survival rates than patients whose cancer is confined. As such, early diagnosis and medical intervention are vital.
What are common colorectal cancer risk factors?
While anyone can get colon cancer, a number of factors can place certain people at an elevated risk. Common risk factors for colon and rectal cancer are listed below:
- Alcohol use
- Having a family history of colon or rectal cancer
- Having experienced inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Being overweight
- Being over the age of 50
Patients who have any of these risks should have regular colon cancer screenings, such as a colonoscopy procedure.
How is cancer of the colon diagnosed?
A number of colorectal cancer screening procedures may be recommended for people who are at risk for colon cancer. Such screening methods include fecal assessments, blood work, and colonoscopy testing. A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure where a gastrointestinal doctor places a flexible scope containing a small camera into the colon and rectum to evaluate for the presence of irregularities, including polyps in the large bowel. In cases where growths are discovered during the conduction of a colonoscopy, they can often be excised at the time of the procedure and later biopsied for indications of cancer. When colon or rectal cancer has been identified, more extensive tests can be performed to ascertain if the cancer has metastasized and the options that might be the most effective in addressing it.
How is colon cancer treated?
Colon cancer treatment recommendations will depend on the stage, size, and location of the cancer and may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or cancer removal surgery. Growths in the colon may take around 10 –15 years to turn into cancer, which means when a growth is found in the early stages, it can generally be taken out before it turns malignant. Among individuals who have localized colon or rectal cancer and obtain treatment, there is a five-year survival rate of approximately 90%. Having a colonoscopy on a periodic basis can be lifesaving, but about a third of adults in the country are not up to date on their colon and rectal cancer screenings.
Set up a colorectal cancer screening in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Colon or rectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in women. However, the disease is very treatable and simple to identify during a routine colonoscopy procedure. Individuals who are over the age of 50 or who are experiencing other health concerns that increase their probability of colon and rectal cancer are encouraged to schedule a routine colonoscopy screening. Adult Gastroenterology Associates features the most innovative processes and technology to address digestive health issues, and our team of experienced physicians provides care with a patient-first mindset. For more on colorectal cancer or any additional GI concerns, reach out to Adult Gastroenterology Associates in Tulsa.