Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, is cancer that forms in the colon or rectum.
Colorectal cancer affects both men and women, and it often does not have symptoms. However, these symptoms may be a sign of colorectal cancer:
- Blood in your stools
- Stools that are narrower than normal
- Unexplained abdominal pain
- Change in bowel habits
- Unexplained anemia
- Unexplained weight loss
Colorectal cancer can strike at any age, but 9 out of 10 people who get colorectal cancer are age 50 or older.
How is colorectal cancer diagnosed?
There are several tests used to screen for colorectal cancer, including:
- A test for traces of blood on spontaneously passed stool at least once a year
- Double contrast barium enema every 5 years
- CT colonography every 5 years
- A flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
A colonoscopy is the only screening test that can detect (find polyps or cancer) and prevent colorectal cancer (by removing polyps) during the same exam. The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy recommends that everyone age 50 or older get screened for colorectal cancer. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors, you may need to begin screening earlier. Talk with Dr. Bhatti about when to begin screening and which test is right for you.
Is colorectal cancer treatable?
Colorectal cancer is highly preventable and can be detected by testing even before there are symptoms. If caught early, colorectal cancer is treatable.