Colorectal Cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. Being the fourth most common cancer found in the US, deaths by it have decreased with the help of certain tests, such as colonoscopies, and fecal occult blood tests. This is why its so important to see your doctor regularly, to get certain tests to protect your health!
What exactly is colorectal cancer? Well, most start as small growth or ‘polyps” on the lining of the colon, although not all polyps are cancerous. There are two main types of these polyps; Adenomas that sometimes change into cancer and Hyperplastic polyps which are more common and are not pre-cancerous. When being screened doctors look for Dysplasia. Dysplasia is an area in the polyp, the lining of the colon or rectum where cells look abnormal—also a pre-cancerous condition.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer can simply be caused by something non cancerous such as hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, infection, or inflammatory bowel disease. The common and most important signs that you should go see your doctor are; a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, dark stool, cramping or abdominal pain, or unintended weight loss. If colon cancer is the cause of your symptoms often appear after the cancer has spread.
Colorectal cancer is diagnosed in stages, using screening tests ordered by your physician. Colorectal cancer is less common in women than it is in men. By, or sooner than the age of 50 it is important to talk to your doctor about any tests or precautions you can take to prevent your self from the risk of colorectal cancer. Take care of yourself and loved ones by getting screened and checked as soon as you can!