What Are the Risks of Colorectal Cancer and Should I Get Screened?

Colon cancer, also referred to as colorectal cancer, is a severe gastrointestinal disease and a common cause of death among U.S. citizens. This illness affects the end portion of the GI tract, called the colon, and develops as cells in the intestinal lining form polyps, or benign growths. After some time, polyps can end up as malignant tumors, leading to cancer of the colon. Getting colon cancer assessments at Digestive Health Associates of Texas is vital to looking for signs of colorectal cancer promptly and decreasing your chances of getting this serious condition. Set up an appointment with our Dallas, TX team today or keep reading to discover more regarding colon cancer, as well as its downsides.

Colorectal cancer symptoms

Though colon cancer might affect men and women alike, it often develops in older adults. Aside from age, risk factors for colon cancer include family history, a personal history of polyps or another form of cancer, GI conditions (such as colitis), a bad diet, severe consumption of alcohol, and using tobacco, among others. A handful of the most common signs of colorectal cancer in Dallas, TX individuals are:

  • Differences in bowel habits
  • Excessive diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Exorbitant gas
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Constant constipation
  • Abdominal fullness

There might be no notable signs of colorectal cancer in several patients, specifically in the early phases. This makes having regular cancer tests from a gastrointestinal doctor incredibly important to your overall wellness.

When do I need a colorectal exam?

Screenings for colorectal cancer at Digestive Health Associates of Texas can typically diagnose the disease in the initial stages. In the event that precancerous polyps are identified, they can typically be taken out and managed more easily, tremendously decreasing the risk of cancer formation. Routine colorectal screenings with a gastrointestinal doctor may even stop the development of cancer. It is generally recommended that patients who are not at high risk for colon cancer start having regular colon cancer checkups at age 45.

The prevalence of which these evaluations are conducted is dependent upon a person’s systemic wellness and other considerations. Typically, such colorectal screenings are suggested every 5 – 10 years. Because individual hereditary factors and risks may vary, your gastrointestinal physician can go over how frequently you should have colorectal cancer screenings.

What types of colorectal cancer evaluations are done?

Screenings for colorectal cancer can offer your gastrointestinal specialist an opportunity to search for signs of polyps or irregular growths in the colon. As gastroenterology experts, the physicians at Digestive Health Associates of Texas provide a comprehensive variety of colon cancer screening procedures, such as:

  • Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy exam is completed with a tube-like scope that houses a small video camera and is conducted to view the inner lining of the entire large intestine and rectum. Biopsies and precancerous polyp removal can be completed during the exam. Colonoscopy is considered the gold standard test for colon cancer screening and is the only screening test that allows doctors to view the entire colon.
  • Virtual colonography: Performed as a noninvasive service, virtual colonography relies on CT (computed tomography) imaging techniques to examine the rectum and large intestine for irregular areas.
  • Fecal tests: Fecal tests can recognize blood in a fecal sample that might not be obvious to the naked eye. These blood tests may additionally help detect potentially cancerous cellular matter and indications of cellular DNA changes in a stool sample.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: This treatment features a special camera to produce a high-definition view of the internal rectum and lower large intestine. It can be used for polyp removal or when completing a biopsy of an abnormal lesion. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is usually carried out with fecal tests to screen for any indication of blood not visible in the stool.
  • Double-contrast barium enema procedures: These types of screening procedures entail the injection of a combination of air and a barium sulfate liquid, which coats the outside lining of the large intestine. X-ray images are then completed to reveal polyps and other suspicious areas within the colon.

Safeguard your health with colon cancer screenings in Dallas, TX

Receiving in-depth colorectal cancer screenings starting about age 45, or as recommended by your specialist, can help locate benign areas promptly and reduce your chances for a cancer diagnosis. To know more about how to properly safeguard your health with regular colon cancer screenings, contact our Dallas, TX staff at Digestive Health Associates of Texas.