It is estimated that about 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will develop colorectal cancer.
It is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States.
What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer usually begins as a polyp inside the colon or rectum. While not all polyp growths change into cancer, some do over time. The chance of a polyp turning into cancer greatly depends on what type of polyp it is.
There are certain factors a physician considers to determine if a polyp could develop into cancer:
• Polyp size (if the polyp is larger than 1 cm)
• Number of polyps (if there are more than 3 polyps found)
• Presence of dysplasia (dysplasia is a precancerous state on which an area in the polyp or lining of the colon or rectum have cells that look abnormal)
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Some of the most common symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
• A persistent change in the bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation and change in the consistency of the stool)
• Blood in the stool
• Abdominal discomfort such as cramping or gas
• Constant feeling that the bowel doesn’t empty completely
• Unexplained weight loss
• Fatigue or weakness
Diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer
To determine if your symptoms are indicative of colorectal cancer, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy and biopsy (to test if the polyps are cancerous). In some cases, he/she may also request blood tests.
Treatment usually involves surgery to remove the cancer. The board-certified surgeons of Premier Surgical Associates of Knoxville and Cleveland, TN, have vast experience in treating colorectal cancer.
The type of surgical options available for you will depend on your cancer stage, the presence of metastasis, and your overall health condition.
Who is at risk for colorectal cancer?
There are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer. These include old age, being of African-American descent, having inflammatory intestinal conditions, a history of polyps, smoking, heavy use of alcohol, obesity, and a family history of colon cancer.
How can I prevent colorectal cancer?
Colon and Rectal Surgeon, Dr, Sung Lee, of Premier Surgical at Fort Sanders Regional, highly emphasizes the importance of early screening in the prevention of colorectal cancer.
“Early detection is key! If you can catch colorectal cancer early on, it can get resected, and sometimes the patient won’t need chemotherapy or radiation therapy when it is caught early on. Now, it is recommended to get a colorectal cancer screening at age 45.”
If you have questions about colorectal cancer screening and/or the Premier Surgical physicians who treat Colon and Rectal Cancer visit: https://www.premiersurgical.com/premier-surgical-services/colon-and-rectal-surgery/.