What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in your colon or rectum, which makes up the lower portion of your digestive tract known as the large intestine. When there is a change in the cells that form the inner lining of the large intestine, it can lead to growths (polyps) that can develop into cancer. Removing these polyps may prevent cancer from forming.
Approximately 90% of colorectal cancer can be prevented with a colorectal screening (colonoscopy). If you are over the age of 50, your physician may recommend a colonoscopy.
Treating colorectal cancer
Franciscan Health offers a variety of colorectal cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and colorectal surgery. Through an interdisciplinary approach, we ensure your treatment results in the best possible outcome. Your oncology team, which may include a cancer care nurse navigator, will work closely with oncologists, gastrointestinal specialists, general surgeons and colorectal surgeons, offering explanations and support along the way.
Some people choose to speak with a second specialist to vet all options. Franciscan Health offers Second Opinion Clinics. This can help you to fully understand all of the options and feel confident that you are making the right choice for your care.
What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms occur, however, they will probably vary, depending on the cancer’s size and location. This is why regular screening is so important.
Common signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Change in stool consistency
- Abdominal discomfort
- A feeling that your bowel isn’t completely empty
- Rectal bleeding
- Bloody stool
- Unexplained weight loss