Since next month is colon cancer awareness month, Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates wishes to provide colon and rectal cancer facts that could help you protect your health and wellness. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among adults. However, it is also one of the most detectable and, in a number of instances, preventable cancers through routine evaluations.
Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates offers specialized care for gastrointestinal (GI) health. Our dedicated team provides support for individuals and their families as they go through the process of diagnosis and treatment for colon or rectal cancer. If you would like to learn more about our physician-led network of gastroenterologists or find a colonoscopy doctor near you, please contact our GI office in New Orleans, LA today.
About colon and rectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells that originates in either the rectum or large intestine (colon). It is also called colon cancer or bowel cancer. Colon cancer is common, as 1 in 25 women and 1 in 23 men will receive a colorectal cancer diagnosis at some point during their lifetime. Nearly 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in 2021, as reported by the American Cancer Society.
What are some symptoms of colon and rectal cancer?
Throughout the initial stages, colon or rectal cancer is unlikely to show any obvious warning signs or symptoms. It can take around ten years for a premalignant polyp (growth) in the colon or rectum to transition into cancer. If a person is showing indications of colon or rectal cancer, they will likely experience:
- An unexplained loss of weight
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Bloody stools
- A change in bowel habits
- Chronic diarrhea
Should you or a family member experience any of these colorectal cancer symptoms, reach out to Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates in New Orleans, LA as soon as possible.
Know the risk factors for colorectal cancer
While the exact cause of colon cancer is unclear, there are a number of factors that seem to put certain individuals at a higher risk than others. Such risk factors include:
- Age: While colon cancer can occur in younger individuals, around 88% of new cases occur in persons over 50, but during recent years, there has been a tendency in the direction of earlier diagnosis. As a result, this has altered the age recommendation for routine colon cancer screening to 45 years old.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS): People who have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis have a higher chance of getting colorectal cancer.
- Family history of colon or rectal cancer: About 25 – 30% of individuals diagnosed with colon cancer have a relative who also has been diagnosed with the disease.
How is colon cancer identified?
Colon and rectal cancer is often identified and diagnosed in the course of a cancer screening, such as a colonoscopy. Though colorectal cancer is often highly treatable if discovered early, roughly a third of adults in the United States are not current on their colorectal cancer exams. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention approximates that about 68% of deaths resulting from colorectal cancer could be prevented if all eligible patients remained up to date on their colonoscopy exams.
If you have an average risk for colorectal cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force urges you to undergo your first colorectal cancer screening at age 45. To set up a colorectal cancer screening in New Orleans, LA, please reach out to Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates.
Find out more about colorectal cancer screenings in New Orleans, LA
If diagnosed early, the prognosis for colon or rectal cancer is quite good. Colorectal cancer that has not grown farther than the colon or rectum may be successfully treated with a five-year rate of survival of about 90%. To learn more about colorectal cancer screenings in New Orleans, LA, please reach out to us today. The board-certified gastroenterologists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates look forward to helping you protect your digestive health.