Colon cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer in the United States for both men and women. About %5 of Americans develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. Colon cancer is often preventable, treatable and if detected early, is curable. At ACE Clinic, we can guide you through your treatment process and help you understand your options.
Colon (large intestine) is responsible for extracting water and nutrients from the foods you eat before stool is passed along to be stored in the rectum. Colon cancer is a serious condition where cancer cells grow within the lining of the colon. Most cancers arise from colon polyps which are abnormal growths of the inner wall of the colon. Not all polyps are cancerous, but it’s still important to have them screened regularly. Polyps can be assessed during a colonoscopy procedure.
The most important symptoms of colon cancer include:
- Changes in bowel habits
- Blood in the stool
- Unintended weight loss
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Constipation, fullness, bloating, and cramping
- Narrow stools
If you experience these symptoms, it’s extremely important to consult your colorectal surgeon and discuss your options.
The exact cause of colon cancer is unknown. But there are certain risk factors that increase the chance of developing this disease. These risk factors include
- Age: 90 percent of patients with colon cancer are diagnosed at 50 and older, therefore it is important to undergo screening colonoscopy starting at 45.
- Colon Polyps: most polyps are benign, but some can progress to become cancerous, removal of polyps during colonoscopy reduces this risk.
- Family history of colon cancer: First degree relatives of patients with colon cancer are more likely to develop this disease.
- Diet: Studies have shown that a low fiber and high fat diet increases the risk of colon cancer.
- Genetics: Certain genetic conditions such as HNPCC and FAP significantly increase risk of colon cancer during a patient’s lifetime.
- Inflammatory Bowel disease: Both Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease cause chronic inflammation of the colon that can increase risk of developing colon cancer.
The first step in colon cancer treatment is typically a biopsy to confirm presence of cancerous cells. This can be performed at the time of colonoscopy. Once the diagnosis of cancer is made, your doctor needs to determine the extent of the disease. In the early stages, colon cancer can be treated by surgically removing that segment of the colon. This can be completed using robotic technology. If colon cancer has progressed to the later stages, then your colorectal expert can recommend your next best steps.
Colon cancer is very treatable with the right steps in the early stages. However, colon cancer can return so it’s important to partner with a knowledgeable colorectal expert who can perform regular screenings and recommend your best options.
Cancer can be an overwhelming diagnosis, but our team is here to help. To learn more about our state-of-the-art treatment processes, we invite you to contact ACE Clinic by calling or filling out our online form.
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Please do not hesitate to call us at 602-844-5157 or fill out our online form if you have a question, or would like to schedule an appointment.