Do Your Know the Risks, Signs, and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?


"You have cancer" is something no one wishes to hear. Regardless of whether the diagnosis concerns you, a close friend, or a member of your family, it usually causes feelings of fear and significant concern. At Arizona Digestive Health, however, we believe that being mindful of the risks can help you better manner a cancer diagnosis. Becoming familiar with the symptoms, indications, and your family’s history of colorectal cancer can help to catch the disease in the early stages and provide you with more options to consider when it comes to treatment.

How is colorectal cancer detected?

Colorectal cancer develops in the colon (large intestine) or rectum. Often referred to as “colon cancer” or “rectal cancer,” this disease leads cells in the large intestine or rectum to multiply out of control. Colorectal cancer can generally be treated, so our specialists recommend that people 45 years of age and older have a routine colon cancer screening in Phoenix, AZ to decrease their chances of having this disease go undetected. Additionally, if you have had a close relative with colon cancer or if you have been diagnosed with a digestive condition, like ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, it is essential to start screening for colon cancer as soon as you turn 45.

Signs and symptoms for improved colon cancer awareness

Aside from recommending that you schedule colorectal cancer screenings periodically, we also recommend learning about the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer. Although they might not be apparent initially, knowing these indications may help to detect the cancer in the initial stages.

Typical signs and symptoms of colon cancer might include the following:

  • A change in your bowel movements or bowel habits

  • Blood in your stool

  • Constipation or diarrhea

  • Persistent cramps, aches, or abdominal pains

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Difficulty emptying bowels

Though these signs or symptoms might seem indistinct, when repetitive, it is ideal to reserve an appointment at Arizona Digestive Health so one of our experienced GI doctors can learn more about the condition. Our Phoenix, AZ gastroenterologists prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health.

Can I develop colon or rectal cancer if someone in my family has it?

Should you have a relative or family member that has been diagnosed with colon and rectal cancer, it is important to know that you could have an elevated chance of developing the disease. You can use this information to your benefit and make informed choices about your health.

It is essential that when meeting with a gastroenterologist, you relay as much of your family medical history as you can. During your consultation, it is wise to provide details about the health history of your immediate family members, including your father, mother, sisters, and brothers, and your father and mother's sides of the family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and more). You should provide the form of cancer your relative had, when it was discovered, and if the cancer was the reason for death. Providing these details can help our experts curate the best preventive treatment plan for your needs.

At Arizona Digestive Health, we might recommend that when you have an immediate family member who has had colon cancer, you start getting colonoscopies around the age of 30. When the family member is not an immediate family member, we suggest colorectal cancer screenings beginning around 45 years of age.

Get screened for colorectal cancer in Phoenix, AZ

Though being diagnosed with cancer is always frightening, having knowledge of signs, symptoms, and risk factors can help you understand your chances of colon cancer and receive a diagnosis as early as possible. At Arizona Digestive Health, we are here for you and ready to help screen for and detect colorectal cancer. To connect with a gastrointestinal doctor in Phoenix, AZ, contact our team to schedule a consultation.