The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Care Network and AZCCC are devoted to education on colorectal cancer and how it can be diagnosed and treated.
Colorectal cancer is a disease of the colon or rectum, which are parts of the digestive system. Unlike most cancers, colorectal cancer is often preventable with screening and highly treatable when detected early.
Most cases of colorectal cancer occur in people ages 45 and older, but the disease is increasingly affecting younger people. Each year, about 150,000 Americans are diagnosed and more than 50,000 die.
Colorectal cancer may develop without symptoms. If you are 45 or older and at average risk, it’s time to get screened with a colonoscopy.
Screening is the No. 1 way you can prevent colon cancer and rectal cancer.
With screening, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Colon cancer and rectal cancer are also highly treatable if caught early. That’s why on-time screening is essential and lifesaving. Screening should begin at age 45, or people at higher risk may need to get checked earlier, according to their risk factors.
What are the Warning Signs?
Colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms, particularly at first. Someone can have colon cancer or rectal cancer and not know it, which is why screening is so important.
When they occur, symptoms may include:
Changing bowel habits may include intermittent or constant diarrhea and/or constipation, a change in the consistency of your stool, or stools that are more narrow than usual.
Abdominal discomfort may present as cramps, gas, or pain. You may also feel full, bloated, or like your bowel is not completely empty. Nausea and vomiting can also be a symptoms.
Blood in or on your stool is a symptom of rectal cancer and colon cancer. The blood can be bright red, or the stool may be black and tarry or brick red.
Weakness and/or fatigue may be a sign of colorectal cancer. Weakness and/or fatigue may be accompanied by anemia or a low red blood cell count.
A loss of weight for no known reason should always be investigated. Nausea and/or vomiting are also possible symptoms.
The higher stages of cancer require advanced treatment options.
Stage 0 = Earliest stage of colorectal cancer
Stage 4 = Most advanced stage of colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer treatment depends on the size, location, and of course, how far the cancer has spread.
Small polyps are usually removed during the colonoscopy without a need for any incision on your body. Larger or complex polyps are generally removed with minimally invasive surgery that removes the segment of colon where a polyp or polyps have been found. That more comprehensive approach can eliminate the need for a subsequent operation if cancer is ultimately found in the polyp.
Often, if the cancer has not spread, surgery to remove the cancerous portion of colon is curative and no further treatment is needed.
For more advanced stages, specific treatment for colorectal cancer will be determined by your doctor based on:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the disease
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Your opinion or preference
- Molecular features of your tumor
After the colorectal cancer is diagnosed and staged, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan.
AZCCC is the Leading Arizona Cancer Treatment Center
Arizona Center for Cancer Care provides multi-specialty treatment to more than 30,000 cancer patients across the Valley and understands the importance of serving the entire family. Arizona Center for Cancer Care’s mission is to provide the highest quality cancer treatment in Arizona. At AZCCC, patients can depend on the very best doctors and staffs for cancer care. They are a cancer center without walls with services stretching across the Valley and beyond.
Arizona Center for Cancer Care is here for you and for your family. For more info please go to https://arizonaccc.com/contact-us/