Is Colon and Rectal Cancer a Health Concern for Women?

A concerning condition, colorectal cancer is the second greatest cause of death caused by cancer in women, after breast cancer. Comprising the majority of the digestive tract, the colon draws water and nutrients from food that has passed through the small bowel. The end segment of the large bowel is known as the rectum. In some cases, polyps, which are small growths of cells, form in the inner surface of the colon or rectum. The growths usually exhibit few to no symptoms, but they can form into cancer of the colon or rectum if left untreated. Given that they are remarkably similar, colon and rectal cancer are frequently categorized together.

Regular colorectal cancer screenings can discover signs of colon and rectal cancer early on and greatly enhance a person's prognosis. You can set up a colonoscopy procedure and other colorectal cancer screenings at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates. To find an experienced digestive health doctor in San Antonio, TX you can trust, consult our team to learn more about colorectal cancer and other digestive problems.

What should I know about colon and rectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer starts in the large bowel or rectum. A large number of people with colorectal cancer will exhibit no symptoms in the cancer's beginning stages. Those who do exhibit signs or symptoms may have the following:

  • Persistent abdominal cramps or discomfort

  • Blood present in stool or rectal bleeding

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Changes in bowel movements

In the event that you or a family member has one or more of these indications, contact San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates today to speak with a GI expert.

If a cancerous polyp invades into the outside wall of the colon or rectum, it can enter into the blood vessels or lymph system and travel to other regions of the body. Patients whose colon or rectal cancer has metastasized beyond the large bowel have considerably decreased odds of survival than individuals whose cancer remains within the local area. As such, early diagnosis and treatment are imperative.

What are common colon cancer risk factors?

Even though any person can get colorectal cancer, a number of factors may put certain individuals at higher risk. Risk factors for colon and rectal cancer are as follows:

  • A genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer

  • Alcohol use

  • Being over 50

  • Having experienced inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

  • Tobacco use

  • Obesity

Those with these risk factors should receive regular colorectal cancer screenings, such as a colonoscopy.

How is colon or rectal cancer diagnosed?

Various forms of colorectal cancer screening may be performed for individuals at risk of developing colorectal cancer. Such screening approaches include fecal analysis, blood tests, and various forms of colonoscopy procedures. To perform a colonoscopy, a GI doctor inserts an elongated scope with a camera through the rectum and colon to check for any signs of abnormal tissues, such as growths. In the event that growths are identified during a colonoscopy, they can be removed during the procedure and tested for cancer cells. Once colon or rectal cancer has been identified, more extensive tests can be carried out to determine if the cancer has spread and which techniques would offer the best method of treating it.

What are the treatment options for colon cancer?

The chosen treatment for an individual's colon cancer will be based on the size, location, and stage of the cancer and may include radiation treatment, chemotherapy, or surgery to excise the area. Growths in the colon may take 10 –15 years to transition into cancer. If a growth is detected early on, then it can frequently be removed before it becomes cancer. In patients who have localized colorectal cancer and receive treatment, the five-year chance of survival is around 90%. Receiving a colonoscopy on a routine basis can be lifesaving, but around one-third of American adults are not current on their screenings for colon cancer.

Set up a colon cancer screening in San Antonio, TX

Cancer of the colon is the second-greatest cause of cancer deaths among women, but it is significantly treatable and easy to identify during a periodic colonoscopy procedure. Those over 50 or who have been diagnosed with other health concerns that increase their chance of colon and rectal cancer should set up a routine colonoscopy screening. San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates features the most modern techniques and technology to care for gastrointestinal issues, and their physician-led network functions on a patient-centered mentality. To discover further details surrounding colorectal cancer or other digestive health diseases, contact our San Antonio, TX facility today.