Colon and rectal cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is currently the third most common type of cancer in both men and women, and one of the main causes of cancer mortality worldwide.
The colon and rectum are parts of the digestive system. It is where most liquids and mineral nutrients are absorbed, and waste is stored before its elimination through the anus.
Among the factors that can influence the risk of developing cancer are:
- Age: To generate a cancer cell, many mutations are required in the genes of a cell. This occurs more frequently over the years that is why cancer is much more prevalent in elderly people. More than 91% of patients are diagnosed with colorectal cancer from the age of 50.
- Other risk factors
- Family history of colorectal cancer.
- Personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
- Diet rich in red or processed meat.
- Excess of alcohol.
- Physical inactivity.
There is usually no discomfort in the early stages of the disease. Symptoms related to more advanced stages of colon cancer are:
- Rectal bleeding.
- Blood in the stool (feces).
- Change in bowel habits.
- Cramps in the lower abdomen.
- Anemia from blood loss.
- Weakness and fatigue.
If you have any of these symptoms it is important to seek medical attention to exclude the possibility of cancer.
- Early detection of this disease is of utmost importance for treatment and to increase the possibility of a total cure.
- The International Cancer Organizations recommend starting colon cancer screening from the age of 50, for both men and women with normal risk.
- It must be performed before the age of 50, in patients who have a family history of colon cancer or any symptom of this disease.
There are several methods to detect colon cancer, from checking for occult blood in feces, imaging studies such as the contrasted colon, virtual colonoscopy (tomography), and colonoscopy, the latter being the recommended method as it also allows taking samples and tumor resection (curative).
Colonoscopy is a procedure where a camera is inserted into the colon to detect tumor lesions in early stages or suspicious lesions, allowing their removal, to prevent the progression to colon cancer.
- The examination is performed on an outpatient basis (no hospitalization is required) and under sedation to reduce discomfort for the patient. One day before the examination, you will receive colon cleansing medications (laxatives) for an easier thorough examination of the colon. You will then rest in the resting area until you are ready to go home.
- Talk to your doctor about the risk of colon cancer and the need for a colonoscopy.
- The Gastroenterology team of Clínica Ricardo Palma has vastly experienced doctors in the endoscopic study of the digestive tract, as well as the very latest equipment to provide the best service.