What is Colon Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a malignant growth in the lining of Colon. It is a very common lethal disease. It is the second leading cause of death in the US. It accounts for 9% of overall cancer deaths. Colorectal cancer results from both genetic and environmental factors, and their interaction. Genetic predisposition is the dominant risk factor for some individuals. However; environmental factors including diet, exercise, smoking and obesity are stronger risk factors in most people.

What are the symptoms of Colon Cancer?

Usually no symptoms. But if advanced disease is present then you may have one or a combination of the following:

  • Blood in stool.
  • Change in the pattern of bowel habits.
  • Abdominal distention, increased gas or pain.
  • Unintentional weight loss.
  • Incomplete evacuation of bowels.

How can Colon cancer be prevented?

By undergoing a screening Colonoscopy with removal of Premalignant Polyps. Also by modifying environmental factors as mentioned above.

What does Colon Cancer screening involve?

Screening options that can identify early colon cancer include:

  • ACG preferred Screening/Prevention test is Colonoscopy.
  • ACG preferred screening/Detection test for patients who decline cancer prevention
  • tests is Fecal Immunological-based testing by sensitive guaiac method, performed
    annually.

At what age should the screening be done?

Average risk patients (Patients with no risk factors) should have Colon Cancer screening at age 50. Men and women both are at risk.

Who are high risk patients for Colon Cancer?

High risk individuals include the following:

  • If a patient is at risk for earlier onset Colon cancer, i.e, has a 1st degree relative that
    had colon cancer before the age 50, screening should begin earlier.
  • If a patient is at risk for more rapidly progressive Colon Cancers, screening should be
    performed more frequently.
  • If a patient has a family history of Colon Cancer.

What happens after I have been found to have Polyps
( small growths in colon lining)?

Patient once found to have Polyps will have to continue to undergo surveillance of their colon with a Colonoscopy to have them removed.

Who undergoes surveillance?

High risk individuals include the following:

  • Patients with History of colon polyps.
  • Patients with History of Colon Cancer.
  • Patients with history of Inflammatory bowel disease : Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s
    Disease.