Colon Cancer in Houston, TX
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What is colon cancer?
Your colon is the last part of your GI system, extracting water and salt from the leftover remnants of the food you eat. Colon and rectal cancer happens when potentially tumorous growths begin to form in the colon or rectum. Cancer begins as benign growths called polyps. Polyps are small clumps of cells that can ultimately become colon tumors. Colon cancer is more common in mature adults and is the second-leading cancer discovered in both females and males combined.
It is important to get a colonoscopy beginning at age 45 and then as instructed by your GI doctor. To make an appointment for a colonoscopy in Houston, TX, please contact a Gastroenterology Consultants location near you.
What are the signs and risk factors of colon cancer?
With early intervention and the correct care plan, colorectal cancer can be treated for a positive outcome. If you are undergoing any of these symptoms persistently, please request an appointment with a Houston, TX gastrointestinal physician promptly:
- Discomfort throughout bowel movements
- An abrupt change in bowel movements, including constipation, diarrhea, or an alteration in the consistency of your stool
- A sensation that your bowel doesn't clear fully
- Lasting abdominal discomfort, like cramps, gas, or pain
- Bloody stool
- Persistent urges to defecate
- Any of this list accompanied by weakness and tiredness
Factors that may increase the risk of developing colon cancer are:
- Age: Colorectal cancer is primarily identified in individuals over the age of 50; however, the rates of colon and rectal cancer in younger people have been on the incline.
- Family history: If you or a family member has had colon cancer or colon growths, you possess a greater risk of colon cancer.
- Descent: People of African American descent possess an increased risk of colorectal cancer compared to other races.
- Inflammatory intestinal conditions: Long-term diseases, like Crohn's disease and colitis, can heighten the risk of colon cancer.
- "Typical Western Diet": Colorectal cancer has been associated with a low-fiber, high-fat, and high-calorie way of eating.
Survival percentages for colon cancer
Survival rates for colon cancer are split into three categories based on how much the cancer has spread when it's diagnosed. Localized colon cancer is cancer that is only in the colon. Regional colon cancer is when the disease advances to the surrounding tissues and organs, and distant is if the cancer has circulated to faraway portions of the body.
- Localized colon cancer: 90% 5-year survival rate
- Regional colon cancer: 71% 5-year survival rate
- Distant colon cancer: 14% 5-year survival rate
If the condition is identified quickly and simply presents in a few malignant polyps, then the growths can be extracted, often leading to exceptionally higher survival rates.
We advise obtaining a colonoscopy when you turn 45 years of age to screen for and identify cancer early. If colon cancer runs in your family, then we may propose having a colonoscopy at Gastroenterology Consultants at an earlier time.
What are the possible treatments for colorectal cancer?
The treatment protocol for colon cancer in Houston, TX patients will differ based on the stage and advancement of the disease. Every case is different, but the best thing you can do for colon cancer is to prevent it completely.
Colon cancer is a unique type of cancer since it is avoidable. Colorectal cancer first shows up in the form of polyps. These polyps can be removed, which lowers the risk of passing away from cancer by 90%. Your individual risk and avoidance steps can be identified during a colon cancer screening with your GI doctor.
Stage 0 Colon Cancer Treatment
Stage 0 colorectal cancer is when the colon cancer has not spread outside the interior lining of the colon. If the polyp is tiny enough, it can be freely extracted using a colonoscope during a colonoscopy.
Stage I Colon Cancer Treatment
If the tumor is thoroughly withdrawn during a colonoscopy with no cancerous tissues at the extremities, no continued treatment may be necessary. If the eliminated tumor does show cancerous tissues at the edges, further extraction could be needed to remove the remaining cancer cells. For cancers not in tumor form, a partial colectomy might be needed to remove the portion of the colon and any neighboring lymph nodes that are cancerous.
Stage II Colon Cancer Treatment
In stage 2, surgery is normally performed to excise the area of the colon or neighboring cancerous lymph nodes. In some cases, physicians will also suggest adjuvant chemotherapy (chemo following surgery).
Stage III Colon Cancer Treatment
A partial colectomy accompanied by adjuvant chemotherapy is the conventional treatment for this type of colon cancer.
Stage IV Colon Cancer Treatment
This stage of the disease usually means the cancer has moved to other tissues or organs. Surgery may be necessary to remove components of the cancer established in the colon and other organs, in addition to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy at this stage is typically conducted prior to and after the surgery procedure.
Colon Cancer FAQs
What causes colon cancer?
The exact cause of colorectal cancer is not well understood. It arises when mutated cells in the inner lining of the large intestine (colon) or rectum proliferate beyond control, creating a growth or tumor. There are specific factors that could elevate the risk of developing colon or rectal cancer. These include lifestyle factors, such as alcohol and tobacco use, inadequate amounts of physical activity, and poor eating habits, in addition to having a genetic or hereditary history.
How is colon cancer diagnosed?
Colon and rectal cancer is typically identified and diagnosed through a colon cancer screening. A colonoscopy exam is the most common, effective, and complete testing option for detecting colon cancer. Other tests, such as flexible sigmoidoscopy, virtual colonoscopy, stool tests, and double-contract barium enema, might also be utilized when screening for colon cancer. Your Gastroenterology Consultants provider will advise you on the best approach to screening and diagnosis for your unique needs.
How fast does colorectal cancer progress?
Colorectal cancer is slow-growing in most cases. The condition typically begins as a benign growth or polyp in the colon or rectal area that turns malignant as time goes on. Encountering symptoms when polyps are present is rare, which means that periodic colorectal cancer exams are critical to diagnosing this disease as early as possible.
Is colon cancer preventable?
Colon and rectal cancer can commonly be avoided with routine colorectal cancer exams. Since the majority of colon cancers begin as premalignant growths (polyps), getting screened as advised by your medical provider can help diminish the risk of developing this disease. Our gastrointestinal specialists can provide further details on minimizing your colorectal cancer risk when you visit one of our Houston, TX locations for a consultation.
Hope for colorectal cancer patients
Colon cancer can be an alarming diagnosis, but you can take comfort in knowing that expert help is nearby. Gastroenterology Consultants is a doctor-led network of gastroenterologists, and all of our board-certified specialists aim to prioritize the safety and comfort of our patients. To find out more about colorectal cancer and how it may be identified and avoided, or to get treatment for colorectal cancer in Houston, TX, please get in touch with our team today.
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