Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both men and women. You can help by sharing this article.
HOUSTON — Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, for both men and women. You can help by sharing this article, getting involved, or raising awareness about the benefits of colorectal exams.
Tests are recommended for adults aged 45 and over. More than 90% of colorectal cancer occurs in people age 50 and older, and that risk continually increases as you age.
“Colorectal cancer does not always have symptoms. You can have precancerous polyps or colorectal cancer and not even know it,” he said. Amit K. Agarwal, MD, FACS, FASCRSColon and Rectal Surgeon at UT Physicians and Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston.
Other risk factors can also increase the possibility of colorectal cancer.
“If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or have an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, your risk is much higher,” said Agarwal. “Lifestyle factors such as excessive consumption of processed meats, low physical activity, and excessive use of tobacco or alcohol also affect your risk.”
Eating a balanced diet, quitting smoking, and decreasing alcohol consumption can improve your overall health and lifestyle and lower your risk of colorectal cancer.
Signs and symptoms
- Change in bowel movements – constipation, diarrhea or reduced stool size
- Abdominal pain or discomfort – cramps, bloating, gas or feeling full
- rectal bleeding – stools may appear bloody or dark red
- Weakness or fatigue – unexplained weight loss, vomiting or nausea
Because these symptoms can overlap with other GI issues, screening and early detection are essential.
“Screening options such as stool examinations, colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, or computed tomography (CT) colonography have their advantages and disadvantages. You should consult your doctor to see which one is right for you,” said Agarwal.
Treatment options for colorectal cancer
Treatments range from surgery to chemotherapy. Your treatment options will vary based on what stage the cancer is at and where it is located.
“Surgery is often the choice for early diagnoses, while chemotherapy is often the option for advanced stages,” said Agarwal. “The more complex the cancer, the more advanced the cancer treatment needs to be.”
It’s important to review all of your treatment options, including potential side effects, with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs.
The death rate from colorectal cancer has been falling in both men and women for several decades. This is likely due to earlier detection screenings as well as improvements in colorectal cancer treatments.
To learn more about our colon and rectal team, visit our dedicated colon and rectal specialties page.
To schedule an appointment, call 713-486-4740.
This is sponsored content by UT Physicians.