Is Colon Cancer a Health Concern for Women?

colorectal cancer

Comprising the longest section of your large intestine, the colon collects water and nutrients from food that has made its way through the small intestine. The end segment of the large intestine is called the rectum. At times, small growths (polyps) emerge within the interior surface of the colon or rectum. Such growths typically exhibit a few to no symptoms, but some polyps can develop into cancer of the colon or rectum. Since they are very similar, colon and rectal cancer are commonly grouped together. It is important to note that colorectal cancer is the second greatest reason for cancer-related deaths in women, behind cancer of the breast.

Routine colon and rectal cancer screenings can reveal colon cancer in the early stages and greatly boost a patient’s health prognosis. You can book a colonoscopy and other related colon cancer screenings at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates. If you're seeking an expert gastrointestinal (GI) specialist in New Orleans, LA you can trust, partner with our team to protect against colorectal cancer and other digestive issues.

What should I know about colon and rectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer starts in the large intestine or rectum. The vast majority of people with colorectal cancer will experience no signs or symptoms in the cancer's initial stages. The individuals who do present indications could have:

  • A difference in bowel habits

  • Persistent abdominal cramping or pain

  • Blood present in stool or rectal bleeding

  • Inexplicable weight loss

In the event that you or a family member has noticed one or more of these signs or symptoms, reach out to Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates in New Orleans, LA right away to visit with a gastroenterologist.

If a cancerous growth expands into the outer wall of the colon or rectum, it can enter the blood vessels or lymph system and be carried to additional areas of the body. Patients with colon cancer that has moved outside of the large intestine have considerably smaller survival rates than people whose cancer remains within the local area. For this reason, early detection and intervention are key.

What are common colorectal cancer risk factors?

While any individual can get colorectal cancer, some conditions can put certain patients at greater risk. A number of risk factors for colon and rectal cancer are as follows:

  • Use of tobacco products

  • Being overweight

  • Having experienced inflammatory bowel disease

  • Being over 50

  • A family history of colon or rectal cancer

  • Alcohol use

Those having any of these risk factors or an increased chance of developing the disease should schedule regular colorectal cancer screenings, such as a routine colonoscopy.

How is cancer of the colon or rectum identified?

A variety of methods of colon cancer screening may be conducted for people who are at risk for colorectal cancer. Such screening procedures include fecal evaluations, blood tests, and various forms of colonoscopy procedures. To perform a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist inserts an elongated tube containing a camera through the large bowel to evaluate for any indications of tissue irregularities, including growths. If colon polyps are discovered throughout the course of a colonoscopy, they can be removed at the time of the procedure and analyzed for indications of cancer. When colon or rectal cancer has been identified, additional tests can be carried out to ascertain if the cancer has spread and which techniques would offer the most effective approach to treating it.

What are the treatment options for colon or rectal cancer?

The procedure for treating colon cancer will depend on the size, location, and stage of the cancer and may include cancer removal surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment. Colon polyps can take around 10 –15 years to transition into cancer. This means that when a growth is detected early, it can frequently be removed before it develops into cancer. In people who have localized colon or rectal cancer and have proper medical treatment, the five-year chance of survival is around 90%. A routine colonoscopy can save your life; however, around one-third of U.S. adults have not maintained periodic screenings for colon and rectal cancer.

Schedule a colonoscopy in New Orleans, LA

Though colorectal cancer is one of the main reasons for cancer deaths among women, it's highly treatable and easy to identify through a periodic colonoscopy procedure. Those over 50 or who have been diagnosed with conditions that elevate their probability of colorectal cancer are encouraged to schedule a colonoscopy screening. Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates implements the most advanced processes and technology to boost GI health, and their physician-led network serves on a patient-first philosophy. For further information surrounding colon and rectal cancer or other GI health concerns, contact Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates in New Orleans, LA.