Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, yet it’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women in the United States. The dedicated doctors at Houston Regional Gastroenterology help patients prevent colon cancer with a screening colonoscopy, but when cancer develops, you can count on their skill and expertise to provide exceptional treatment. If you’d like to schedule an evaluation for colon cancer or learn if you’re at risk for the disease, call the Sugar Land or Humble, Texas, office, or use the online booking feature.
Most colon cancers begin as noncancerous polyps that develop in the lining of your colon (large intestine) or rectum. Polyps always begin as noncancerous growths. Over the years, however, their cellular DNA can change, making the cells grow abnormally and turn into cancer.
Colon cancer doesn’t cause symptoms at an early stage. As the tumor gets larger or spreads, you experience symptoms such as:
A change in your bowel habits could appear as diarrhea, constipation, narrow stools, or a change in stool consistency.
Age is one of the top risk factors because colon cancer grows slowly. As a result, the older you get, the more likely you are to develop cancer.
Your chance of colon cancer is also higher if you meet any of the following risk factors.
Heavy alcohol use is also associated with a higher risk of colon cancer.
Yes, colon cancer is largely preventable. Changing your lifestyle factors lowers your risk. Getting a colonoscopy is essential because it allows your doctor to find and remove polyps before they have time to turn into cancer.
During a colonoscopy, your doctor guides a narrow tube containing lighting and a camera through your rectum and to the end of your large intestine. As your doctor slowly withdraws the colonoscope, they use tools inserted through the scope to remove polyps.
In the early stages, your doctor at Houston Regional Gastroenterology may entirely remove the cancer during a colonoscopy. Otherwise, your doctor performs surgery to remove the affected portion of your colon, along with its associated lymph nodes.
Whenever possible, your doctor performs minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. Some patients, however, require open surgery.
Advanced cases of colon cancer may need chemotherapy alone or with radiation therapy. These treatments may occur before surgery to shrink the tumor or after your surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells.
If you need to schedule a screening colonoscopy or you’re concerned about colon cancer symptoms, call Houston Regional Gastroenterology or schedule an appointment online.