Colorectal cancer is also known as colon cancer, rectal cancer or bowel cancer and it happens when cancer develops in the colon or rectum, which are parts of the large intestine. You may notice blood in your stool, a change in bowel movements, weight loss and/or a feeling of lassitude, or tiredness.
Most colorectal cancers are due to lifestyle factors and aging. Only a small number of these cases appear to be genetic disorders. Risk factors include diet, obesity, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. You increase your risk if your diet is high in red and processed meat and/or if you drink a lot of alcohol. Additionally, if you have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS), Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis. If you have a family history of polyps, that may be an inherited risk, Polyps in the colon and large intestine usually start out as benign tumors which become cancerous over time, which is why we screen for these with a routine colonoscopy.
We diagnose bowel cancer by taking a biopsy during a routine colonoscopy. If the biopsy shows cancer cells, we will determine if the cancer has spread through medical imaging. Remember, routine screening with a regular colonoscopy is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer. If you are 50, your Primary Care Physician will have made a recommendation to you that you should get a colonoscopy. High-risk patients will require a colonoscopy at a younger age. To set up an appointment, call (860) 826-3880 and we will set up a routine screening.
If you are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, we will use a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy, depending on the stage it is in. Our practice is wholly concerned with helping you to get well and supporting to you, enhancing your quality of life. Of course, the best way to treat colorectal cancer is to find it in the very early stages of the disease, which will allow us to easily remove it and let you get on with your life.
The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to catch it early on, and this is primarily done with a colonoscopy. Dietary recommendations to prevent colorectal cancer include a diet high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, reducing the amount of red meat in your diet and regular moderate physical activity.