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

Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors

Being told you have cancer is something no patient wants to hear. Regardless of whether the news concerns you, a friend, or a member of your family, this type of diagnosis can be frightening. At Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates, we believe that being mindful of your risks can enable you to better manner a cancer diagnosis. Knowing the symptoms, indications, and your family’s history of colon and rectal cancer can help to detect it as early as possible and provide you with greater treatment options.

How is colon cancer detected?

Colon and rectal cancer is a cancer that develops in the colon (large intestine) or rectum. At times referred to as "bowel cancer" or "colorectal cancer,” this condition causes the cells in the large intestine or rectum to multiply out of control. Colorectal cancer can generally be treated, so we recommend that adults who are age 45 or older receive a regular colon cancer screening in New Orleans, LA to minimize their risk of this disease going undiagnosed. Furthermore, if you have a close relative with colorectal cancer or if you have been diagnosed with a bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, it is important to undergo screening for colorectal cancer once you turn age 45.

Know the signs and symptoms for increased colon cancer awareness

Apart from encouraging you to get colon cancer screenings periodically, we also recommend that you become familiar with colon cancer signs and symptoms. Although the indications may not be evident initially, understanding these signs and symptoms could help to diagnose the cancer as early as possible.

Common signs and symptoms of colon cancer can include:

  • Changes in bowel habits or bowel movements

  • Blood in your stool

  • Constipation or diarrhea

  • Persistent aches, pains, or abdominal cramps

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Incomplete bowel movements

While these indications may seem generalized, if recurrent, it is a good idea to arrange for a consultation at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates so a GI specialist can evaluate your concerns. Our New Orleans, LA gastroenterologists prefer to be proactive when it comes to the health of our patients.

Can I get colon or rectal cancer if a family member has it?

If you have a relative or family member who has been diagnosed with colon cancer, you might have a greater chance of developing the disease. You can use this information to your benefit and make wise decisions when it comes to your health.

We recommend that when visiting your gastrointestinal doctor, you discuss as much of your family health history as possible. During your consultation, you should provide details about the health history of your mother, father, brothers, and sisters, and your mother and father’s sides of the family (grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and more). If possible, discuss the form of cancer your family member had, the time of diagnosis, and whether the cancer resulted in death. Having this information on hand can help our physicians establish the best possible preventive treatment plan for your health needs.

The doctors at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates may recommend that if an immediate member of your family has a history of colon cancer, you undergo a colonoscopy exam around 30 years of age. If the relative is not an immediate family member, we recommend colon cancer screenings around age 45.

Get screened for colon cancer in New Orleans, LA

Though facing cancer is always daunting, knowing the signs, symptoms, and risk factors can help you understand your chances of experiencing the disease and receive a diagnosis as early as possible. At Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates, our team is ready to help you screen for and detect colorectal cancer. To partner with a colonoscopy doctor in New Orleans, LA, contact our facility today.