Colon Cancer in Denver, CO
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What is colon cancer?
The colon, or large intestine, is the last portion of the digestive tract where the body extracts fluid and salt from the remnants of food. Colon cancer, also referred to as colorectal cancer, occurs when tumors originate in the colon or rectum. The tumors often begin as harmless growths referred to as colorectal polyps. Polyps are small clumps of cells that eventually can become colon or rectal tumors.
Colon and rectal cancer is increasingly common in mature adults and is the second most common cancer diagnosed in women and men combined.
Colorectal cancer is commonly detected through a colonoscopy screening. It is important to have a colonoscopy beginning at age 45 and then as suggested by your gastrointestinal (GI) physician. At Denver Digestive Health Specialists, our board-certified gastroenterologists specialize in the detection of colon cancer. To schedule a colorectal cancer screening in Denver, CO, please contact our team today.
What are the symptoms and risk factors of colorectal cancer?
Should you experience the initial signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer, timely intervention could provide a more favorable result. If you experience any of the following indicators persistently, please schedule a visit with one of our Denver, CO gastroenterologists right away:
- Discomfort during bowel movements
- An abrupt change in bowel habits, including constipation, diarrhea, or a change in the consistency of your stool
- Bloody stool
- Long-term intestinal discomfort, such as cramps, gas, or pain
- The feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
- Frequent urges to have a bowel movement
- Any of this list combined with weakness and fatigue
Factors that may increase the risk of developing colon or rectal cancer include:
- Age: Colon cancer is mainly diagnosed in patients who are over 50. However, the incidence of colorectal cancer in young people has increased.
- Race: People of African-American descent have an increased risk of colon cancer compared to other races.
- Family history: If you or a relative has had colorectal cancer or colon polyps, you have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Inflammatory intestinal conditions: Persistent conditions like Crohn's disease and colitis can raise your risk of colorectal cancer.
- “Standard Western Diet”: Colon cancer is linked to low-fiber, high-fat, and high-calorie dietary habits.
Survival statistics for colon cancer
Cancer survival rates are distributed into groups and subject to the degree the disease has spread upon identification. Limited colorectal cancer is cancer that is strictly in the colon. Regional colorectal cancer is defined as cancer that has moved to neighboring tissues and organs, and distant colorectal cancer applies when the condition has circulated to distant portions of the body.
- Localized colon cancer: 90% 5-year survival rate
- Regional colon cancer: 71% 5-year survival rate
- Distant colon cancer: 14% 5-year survival rate
If the cancer is diagnosed early and strictly manifests in minimal cancerous tumors, the polyps often can be removed, remarkably increasing the survival rate.
We advise getting a colonoscopy upon turning 45 years of age to identify cancer quickly. If colon cancer is in your family history, please speak with a Denver Digestive Health Specialists provider to determine if you should undergo a colon cancer screening as soon as possible.
What are the possible treatments for colon cancer?
Treatment for colorectal cancer in Denver, CO patients can vary depending on the spread of the disease. Every case is different, but the best thing you can do for colorectal cancer is to prevent it.
Colorectal cancer is a unique variety of cancer since it is avoidable. It first appears in the form of benign growths (polyps). These polyps can be extracted, which reduces the risk of passing away from cancer by 90%. Your personal risk and steps for prevention can be identified through a colon cancer screening with your GI doctor.
Stage 0 Colon Cancer Treatment
Stage 0 colon cancer is when colon cancer has not dispersed beyond the interior lining of the colon. If the growth is small enough, it can be simply removed with a colonoscope during a colonoscopy.
Stage I Colon Cancer Treatment
If the growth is completely removed during a colonoscopy with no cancer cells at the edges, no further intervention may be necessary. If the eliminated polyp does have cancerous tissues at the margins, further extraction could be required to clear the leftover cancerous tissue. For cancers not in a polyp, a partial colectomy may be necessary to remove the affected portion of the colon and any neighboring lymph nodes that are cancerous.
Stage II Colon Cancer Treatment
Commonly, in stage 2, surgery is performed to extract the portion of the colon or nearby lymph nodes containing cancer. Occasionally, doctors will also advise adjuvant chemotherapy (chemo following surgery).
Stage III Colon Cancer Treatment
A partial colectomy followed by adjuvant chemotherapy is the standard treatment approach for this stage of colon cancer.
Stage IV Colon Cancer Treatment
Stage IV typically means the disease has spread to other tissues or organs. In addition to chemotherapy, surgery could be necessary to extract portions of the cancer established in the colon and additional organs. Chemotherapy at this phase is typically conducted before and after surgery.
Colon Cancer FAQs
What causes colon cancer?
While the exact cause of colorectal cancer is undetermined, it develops when mutated cells in the inner lining of the colon or rectum grow out of control, producing a tumor or growth. There are specific factors, however, that may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. These include lifestyle habits (like drinking alcohol or using tobacco), lack of physical activity, poor dietary habits, and a hereditary or familial predisposition.
How is colorectal cancer diagnosed?
Colon cancer is typically diagnosed when undergoing a colon cancer screening. A colonoscopy is the most commonly performed, effective, and comprehensive screening for catching colon and rectal cancer. Further tests, such as virtual colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, double-contrast barium enema, and fecal tests, may also be utilized when screening for colon cancer. Your Denver Digestive Health Specialists provider can recommend the appropriate option for diagnosis and screening to address your individual needs.
How rapidly does colon cancer progress?
Colon and rectal cancer tends to be slow-growing in most cases. The condition usually arises as a benign growth in the large intestine or rectum that turns cancerous over time. Encountering symptoms with polyps is uncommon, which means that routine colon cancer exams are essential to finding this type of cancer as soon as possible.
Can colon cancer be prevented?
Colon and rectal cancer can often be avoided with routine colon cancer exams. Given that most colon cancers begin as precancerous polyps, scheduling screenings as recommended by your physician can help reduce the risk of experiencing this disease. During your consultation, our gastroenterologists in Denver, CO can offer further details on lowering your colorectal cancer risk.
Help for colon cancer patients
If you or a loved one has colon cancer, take comfort in knowing expert care is close at hand. Denver Digestive Health Specialists is a doctor-led network of gastroenterologists, and all of our board-certified physicians place the health and safety of our patients first. For more information on how colorectal cancer may be diagnosed and avoided or to find treatment for colon cancer in Denver, CO, please contact one of our practice locations.
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Dr. Fishman is very professional and passionate. He is addressing all patient’s complains and takes care to prevent them. My family is under care of Dr. Fishman for more than 20 years and trust his level of expertise! Thank You, Dr.Fishman!