Colorectal Cancer or Colon Cancer is a cancer of the large intestine, which includes the colon and rectum. This type of cancer usually begins as a small polyp when a mass of extra tissue develops on the inner lining of the colon. In many cases, polyps are harmless, but at other times they grow and mutate which can lead to cancer. Because polyps take time to grow and mutate, colorectal cancer can be caught early; when this happens, it is highly treatable.
COLORECTAL CANCER SYMPTOMS AND RISK FACTORS
There are a variety of symptoms that indicate colon cancer, but not everyone will have every symptom. Some people exhibit no symptoms at all. The most common symptoms include:
- Change in bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation)
- Red or dark blood in stools
- Weight loss
- Fatigue or weakness
- Abdominal pain, cramps, or gas
- Change in stool caliber
Colon cancer does seem to have a hereditary component with family history of colon cancer and/or polyps a strong risk factor. However, colorectal cancer is also tied to diet, lifestyle, and age. In addition to family history, risk factors include:
- Over 50 years of age
- High fat diet
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Diagnosis is accomplished through a colonoscopy, which allows Dr. Asgeri to see inside the colon and rectum and take tissue samples if any suspicious tissues are discovered. Treatment depends on the severity of the cancer and its location, but typically includes some combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle of exercise, nutritious eating, weight management, and routine screenings/colonoscopies after age 50 is the best way to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
ARRANGE A COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING AT OASIS ADVANCED GASTROENTEROLOGY
Colorectal cancer is highly treatable when caught early. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or are over 50 years of age, contact Oasis Advanced Gastroenterology in Palm Springs to schedule a screening.
Request an appointment online or call 760-699-7607.