What Are the Signs, Symptoms, and Risk Factors of Colon Cancer?

Being told you have cancer is something no one wishes to face. Whether the news concerns you, a friend, or a member of your family, it understandably imparts a feeling of dread. At Digestive Health Associates of Texas in Dallas, TX, we believe understanding the risks surrounding the condition can help you take control of such a diagnosis. Having an awareness of the signs, symptoms, and your family’s history of colon cancer can help to detect this cancer early and provide you with a wider range of options for care.

How is colon cancer detected?

At times referred to as "colorectal cancer" or "bowel cancer,” colon and rectal cancer arises in the colon (large intestine) or rectum. It occurs when cells in the rectum or large intestine multiply out of control and can often be treated effectively when caught early. Our physicians recommend that adults aged 45 and older receive a routine colon cancer screening in Dallas, TX to minimize their chances of letting this disease go undetected. If you have had a close relative with colon or rectal cancer or if you have been diagnosed with a bowel condition, like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, it is important to start screening for colon and rectal cancer as soon as you turn 45.

Know the signs and symptoms for greater colon cancer awareness

Along with encouraging you to undergo screenings routinely, we also recommend that you know the signs and symptoms of colon cancer. While the indications may not be apparent in the beginning, knowing these signs and symptoms can help to identify the disease in the initial stages.

Typical signs and symptoms of colon cancer can include:

  • Changes in bowel habits or bowel movements

  • Bloody stools

  • Difficult bowel movements or diarrhea

  • Persistent aches, pains, or abdominal cramps

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Incomplete bowel movements

Even though these signs or symptoms may seem minor, if repetitive, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment at Digestive Health Associates of Texas so our GI specialists can learn more about your concerns. Our Dallas, TX gastroenterologists would rather err on the side of caution when it comes to the health of our patients.

Will I develop colorectal cancer if a family member has it?

Should you have a family member or relative who experienced colon and rectal cancer, it is important to know that you could have a higher risk of the disease. This information can be used to your advantage and make educated choices when getting colon cancer screenings.

It is essential that when visiting your gastrointestinal specialist, you discuss as much of your family history as possible. During your visit, it is wise to discuss the health history of your immediate family, including your mother, father, and any brothers and sisters, along with your extended family (uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, grandparents, and more). You should relay the form of cancer your family member had, the time of diagnosis, and if the cancer was the cause of death. Providing these details can help our experts create the best preventive care plan for your health.

At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, we might advise having a colonoscopy around the age of 30 if an immediate member of your family has had colon or rectal cancer. When the family member is not an immediate relative, it is recommended to start screening for colorectal cancer around the age of 45.

Schedule a screening for colorectal cancer in Dallas, TX

Although facing cancer is always daunting, knowing the signs, symptoms, and risk factors can help you become aware of your chances of colorectal cancer and being diagnosed in the early stages. At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, our team routinely performs screenings to detect colon and rectal cancer. Contact our offices today to learn more or to schedule a visit with a GI doctor in Dallas, TX.