According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths. Therefore, it’s important to understand your personal risk factors for this condition and recognize symptoms early.
Colon cancer and rectal cancer are so similar that they are often both referred to as colorectal cancer. The different terms describe the location in the intestines where the tumor originates: the colon or the rectum.
Colorectal cancer symptoms
It’s important to pay attention to your body to detect any changes that may indicate a health concern. Some common symptoms of this condition include:
Since you may not notice symptoms until the cancer has spread, it’s important to understand your personal risk for colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer risk factors
Anyone over the age of 45 is at average risk for colorectal cancer. Men have a slightly higher risk than women, but regular screenings are important for everyone. Some factors that could increase your risk include:
Colorectal cancer screenings and diagnosis
Experts recommend people at average risk for this condition begin routine screenings at age 45. People with a higher risk may need to start screening earlier and have them done more frequently. Some tests for colorectal cancer include:
If your doctor discovers abnormal results during the screening, they may perform the following to reach a diagnosis:
Colorectal cancer treatment and surgery
The physicians at St. Luke’s Health—including gastroenterologists, surgeons, and radiation oncologists—provide advanced, multidisciplinary care to our patients. For those dealing with this condition, we use a compassionate, collaborative approach to create a personalized treatment plan.
Some of the treatments and surgeries available for those with colorectal cancer include:
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