Understanding Colon Cancer and How It Can Be Diagnosed


Colorectal cancer, commonly referred to as colon cancer, is a harmful health illness and a top cause of death among U.S. citizens. This illness affects the end portion of the digestive tract, the colon, and forms as cells in the lining of the large intestine form polyps, or benign growths. After some time, polyps can end up as malignant tumors, leading to cancer of the colon. Receiving colon cancer evaluations at Arizona Digestive Health is critical to finding signs of colon cancer promptly and minimizing your likelihood for this harmful condition. Book a consultation with our Phoenix, AZ gastroenterologists or continue reading to find out more regarding colon cancer and its signs.

Signs of colon cancer

Though colon cancer could affect women and men alike, it typically occurs in senior people. Apart from how old you are, risk factors for colon cancer comprise genetics, medical history of polyps or cancer, gastrointestinal conditions (including colitis), a poor diet, constant alcohol intake, and tobacco use, among others. A handful of the more popular signs of colorectal cancer in Phoenix, AZ individuals include:

  • The sensation of abdominal fullness
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Inconsistencies in bowel movements
  • Tiredness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constant constipation
  • Exorbitant bloating
  • Rectal bleeding

There may be no clear signs of colon cancer in a few individuals, particularly in the early phases. This makes receiving regular colorectal cancer assessments from a gastroenterologist extremely important to your overall health.

When should I have a colorectal cancer screening?

Screenings for colon cancer at Arizona Digestive Health can commonly look for the disease in the early phases. In the event that precancerous growths are detected, they can often be taken out and taken care of more effectively, dramatically decreasing the likelihood of cancer formation. Routine colorectal screenings with a GI doctor could even ward off the formation of colon cancer. It's often recommended that patients who are not at an elevated risk for cancer of the colon start getting regular colon cancer tests before they're 50.

The frequency at which colon cancer screenings are performed is determined according to your systemic and risk factors. Typically, such screenings for colon cancer are suggested on a 5 to 10-year basis. Being that individual hereditary factors and risks can differ, your GI doctor might discuss how frequently you have to receive colon cancer tests.

What forms of colorectal cancer screenings are available?

Screenings for colorectal cancer offer your GI specialist a chance to look for evidence of polyps or unexpected growths in the large intestine. As gastroenterology experts, the doctors at Arizona Digestive Health provide a wide range of colorectal cancer screening procedures, like:

  • Double-contrast barium enema procedures: As radiographic procedures, double-contrast barium enemas include the administration of air and a barium sulfate solution, which adheres to the outer structure of the colon. Radiographic images are then captured to show polyps and additional irregularities within the large intestine.
  • Fecal tests: These diagnostics can recognize blood in a fecal sample that might not be obvious to the plain sight. These tests could also work to pinpoint abnormal cellular matter and indications of changes in cellular DNA in a fecal sample.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: This treatment relies on a small camera to produce a live image of the internal rectal wall and lower colon. This technology may be implemented when removing polyps or when taking a biopsy of a suspicious lesion. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is usually conducted alongside fecal matter testing to check for blood hidden in the stool.
  • Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy procedure involves the use of a long, tube-like scope that houses a micro video camera and is conducted to view the inward wall of the whole rectum and large intestine. Biopsies and precancerous polyp excision may be done at that time. Colonoscopy is the gold standard test for colon cancer screening and is the only screening procedure that shows the colon in its entirety.
  • Virtual colonography: Virtual colonography is a noninvasive procedure that works through CT (computed tomography) scanning technology to examine the large intestine and rectum for potentially cancerous concerns.

Protect your well-being through colon evaluations in Phoenix, AZ

Stopping by for in-depth colon cancer screenings at about age 45, or as encouraged by your specialist, will identify benign areas immediately and lessen your chances for a colorectal cancer diagnosis. To know more about how to properly protect your overall health through routine colorectal cancer exams, please contact our Phoenix, AZ professionals at Arizona Digestive Health.