Our Gastroenterology Blog
Posts for tag: Colon Cancer
One of the diseases that gastroenterologists screen for regularly is colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer or CRC. Modern screening techniques available at Gastrointestinal Specialists in Philadelphia, Langhorne and Bala Cynwyd, PA make it relatively simple to identify this condition in its early stages so that you and your doctor can take urgent steps to treat it. Learn more about screening for CRC, including recommended tests and risk factors.
Colon Cancer Concerns
The American Cancer Society estimates that there are over 135,000 cases of colon and rectal cancer diagnosed each year. It is most common in patients who are overweight and have a poor diet. It is slightly more common in men than women, but both genders should be screened. Here are a few other risk factors:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Smoking for a long time
- Excessive (heavy) alcohol consumption
- Age (more common in people over 50)
- Having other health concerns, like type 2 diabetes or certain inherited syndromes
The mortality rate from colon cancer has been dropping consistently in large part due to screening tests. They allow your doctor to catch and remove any polyps before they become a problem. There are a few situations that may prompt your gastroenterologist to encourage you to get screened as soon as possible:
- You’ve passed your 50th birthday (some patients under 50 may also need regular screenings)
- There’s a family history of colon disease
- A past diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC)
The screening tests include a digital rectal exam, annual blood tests on stool, sigmoidoscopy (every five years) and colonoscopy (required every 10 years). These are outpatient procedures that often take an hour or less of your time. If a screening reveals a potential issue, your gastroenterologist can take immediate steps to neutralize the problem. That may be to either remove the growth or implement a more aggressive treatment plan. Treatments for colon cancer are most successful when the disease is caught in its early stages.
Call for a Consultation in Philadelphia, Langhorne and Bala Cynwyd, PA
Your doctor can provide a number of options for you to get screened for colon cancer. Call the Gastrointestinal Specialists today to set up a consultation appointment with a Philadelphia, Langhorne and Bala Cynwyd, PA GI doctor.
Wondering if you really need that colonoscopy your doctor recommended? Your Torresdale, Bucks and Bala Cynwyd, PA gastroenterologists at Gastrointestinal Specialists explain why colon cancer screening is so important and discuss colon cancer screening tests.
Colon cancer symptoms are not always obvious
In the early stages of colon cancer, you may have no symptoms. Common colon cancer symptoms, such as blood in the stool, a change in bowel habits, bloating, abdominal pain or weight loss, may only occur when the cancer spreads. Colon cancer screenings can detect cancer or pre-cancerous polyps long before they cause any symptoms.
Types of screening tests in Torresdale, Bucks and Bala Cynwyd
Colonoscopy is the most well-known type of colon cancer screening test. After you use laxatives to clear your bowels, your gastroenterologist inserts a flexible scope into your anus and passes it through your large intestine to the beginning of your small intestine. The lighted scope contains a tiny camera that transmits images to a digital screen. If your doctor notices any polyps during the screening, he removes them immediately. Although many polyps are benign, some are cancerous or pre-cancerous. Since your risk of colon cancer increases with age, initial colonoscopies are recommended at age 50.
Colonoscopies are the most used type of colon cancer screening tests because polyps and other problems can be detected and treated during the procedure. In some cases, your doctor may recommend other screening tests instead of or in addition to a colonoscopy, including:
- Virtual Colonoscopy: Virtual colonoscopy offers an alternative to traditional colonoscopy. If your results are abnormal, you may still need a traditional colonoscopy. The test is performed by examining computerized tomography (CT) images taken after air is pumped air into your colon and rectum.
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: The flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure is similar to a colonoscopy, but only your rectum and the lower part of your colon are examined. Polyps can also be removed during this test.
- Barium Enema: This X-ray test involves injecting barium into your rectum to produce a clear image of the colon. If abnormalities or polyps are spotted, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy.
- Stool Tests: Home test kits provided by your doctor can detect small amounts of blood in your stool. Your sample is sent to a medical laboratory for examination.
A colon cancer screening offers an easy way to safeguard your health. Call your Torresdale, Bucks and Bala Cynwyd, PA gastroenterologists at Gastrointestinal Specialists to schedule an appointment to discuss the right screening option for you.
Find out if certain symptoms you’re experiencing could be warning signs of colon cancer.
Did you know that colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States? Anywhere from 200,000 to 3 million new cases will be diagnosed in the US each year. Find out what puts both men and women at risk for developing this form of cancer and what symptoms are telling you that it’s time to schedule an appointment with our Bala Cynwyd gastroenterologist Dr. Geoffrey Braden.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer
Since symptoms often appear once colon cancer has spread it’s important to get screened routinely even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms. When colon cancer is found through a routine screening it is usually easy to treat. If you do experience symptoms then it’s imperative that you see your gastroenterologist in Bala Cynwyd right away.
While many of these symptoms can also be indicative of other less serious issues like an infection or hemorrhoids, it’s still important not to take your symptoms lightly. If you experience any of these symptoms it’s time to schedule an appointment with us:
- Any changes in bowel function (e.g. diarrhea; constipation) that last for more than a couple of days
- Not feeling relieved after having a bowel movement
- Dark or bloody stools
- Abdominal pain
- Unexpected weight loss
Who should be screened for colon cancer?
The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone get routine screening starting at age 50. Those with a family history of colon cancer or those at risk should talk to us about the benefits of getting screened earlier in life. These screenings help us detect issues before they become too serious. In fact, if colon cancer is detected early enough before it has actually spread the 5-year survival rate is 90 percent.
Are there any GI symptoms that are concerning you? Don’t ignore them. Turn to Gastrointestinal Specialists in Bala Cynwyd to diagnose and treat all of your gastrointestinal problems.
Helping our Bala Cynwyd Residents Understand Colon Cancer
Let’s Take a Look at Colon Cancer
In the early stage of colon cancer you may not experience any symptoms. Some warning signs of colon cancer might include:
- Changes in bowel movement
- Dark patches of blood in or on stool
- Abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating
- Unexplained fatigue
- Unexplained Loss of appetite
- Unexplained Weight loss
- Pelvic pain
How can I Prevent Colon Cancer?
- Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Drinking alcohol in moderation, or cutting it out completely
- Say no to smoking (quit if you currently smoke)
- Exercise frequently
- Maintain a healthy weight
G.I. Specialists’ Helps Patients in Bala Cynwyd Understand Colon Cancer
What is Colon Cancer?
- A change in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
- A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss