The following describes the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer. For specific information regarding your health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is the term used when malignant cells are found in the colon or rectum. The colon and the rectum are part of the large intestine, and form the lower portion of the digestive system. As is the case with many other cancers, cancerous tumors of the colon or rectum also may spread to or be found in other parts of the body.
What causes colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers found in both men and women; approximately six percent of all Americans have or will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer of one form or another. Although the causes of colorectal cancer are still being studied, there is strong evidence that individuals will have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer if another member of the family has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer can occur at any age; however, it is more common in older adults. Therefore, it is very important that adults are screened for colorectal cancer regularly. (Click here for more information on colorectal cancer screening). In fact, as more people have become aware of the need for regular screening, the number of deaths due to colorectal cancer has decreased, due to early detection and the opportunity to remove polyps before they develop into cancerous tumors.
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
People with colorectal cancer, especially early stage cancers, may not experience symptoms. Symptoms may also be similar to the symptoms of other conditions, such as hemorrhoids, infections, or irritable/inflammatory bowel disease. For this reason, all adults should speak to their physicians about appropriate colorectal cancer screening options.
While individuals may experience different symptoms, or combinations of symptoms, the following may indicate the presence of colorectal cancer:
- Unusual diarrhea, constipation or narrowing of the stool that lasts for several days or more
- Cramping or stomach pain
- Lowered appetite or lack of interest in eating
- Vomiting or nausea
- Fatigue or tiring easily
- Yellow coloring of the skin and/or eyes (jaundice)
It is also possible to have colon cancer and not have any symptoms. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
For more information about colorectal cancer screening and diagnostics, click here.
For more information about colorectal cancer treatment options at Hurley Medical Center, click here.