What you need to know about colon cancer
As mentioned above, colon cancer is a common form of cancer. It can occur in people of all ages, but older adults are usually affected. Colon cancer often manifests first as polyps, or benign tumors, inside the colon. From there, they begin to grow until they eventually become cancerous.
Colon polyps don’t always cause symptoms, but they can begin causing problems as they develop. Symptoms of colon cancer include:
- Persistent abdominal pain, including gas and cramps
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blood in your stool
- A feeling of fullness in the bowels, even after going to the restroom
- Changes in your bowel movements, including diarrhea or constipation
You might begin feeling weak or fatigued as the cancer grows. If you notice any persistent symptoms, visit your doctor and ask about colon cancer screening.
Why cancer screenings are vital
Your chances of surviving cancer go up exponentially if it’s detected early. That’s why many doctors stress the importance of screenings, especially for common cancers like colon, breast, and skin cancer.
Both men and women should begin colon cancer screenings after age 50. However, those at greater risk should begin screenings much earlier. Risk factors for colon cancer include:
- Family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease or polyps
- Personal history of radiation treatment aimed at the abdomen or pelvis
If you are African American, you’re also at risk for colon cancer due to your race. Those with high-fat diets, diabetes, and sedentary lifestyles should also seek out regular screenings for colon cancer.
There are many ways to test for colon cancer, and your experience might vary depending on your personal and familial history. At Texas Surgical Care, Dr. Ambe offers the following tests for colorectal cancer:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- CT colonography
- Stool tests
If the doctor finds polyps, he might recommend removing them before they develop into cancer.
As for confirmed cases of colon cancer, Dr. Ambe will work with your gastroenterologist, radiologist, and oncologist to find solutions. If surgery is necessary, Dr. Ambe specializes in minimally invasive techniques to help you recover faster.
To learn more about colorectal cancer and your screening options, get in touch with the team at Texas Surgical Care by calling 832-280-8691, or request an appointment online.