September 05, 2020
Rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits for more than four weeks, anemia for no apparent reason, persistent abdominal pain, as well as unexplained weight loss of more than 10 percent of our usual weight, could be some of the symptoms of colon and/or rectal cancer, says Mauricio León Rivera, Surgical Oncologist of our clinic.
For the early detection of this disease, people must get a digital rectal examination and a fecal occult blood test called “Thevenon” annually starting at age 50. If people have direct relatives with this disease, check-ups begin at age 45, adds the specialist.
Likewise, he explains that every 5 years starting at age 50, a colonoscopy should be performed to visually evaluate the entire colon, and if “polyps” are found they should be removed to avoid the progression to colon cancer over the years.
Dr. Mauricio León recommended that when any of these signs or symptoms appear, people should go to the specialist – the gastroenterologist – for an accurate diagnosis. And after the diagnosis is made, the treatment, consisting of surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and/or radiotherapy, depending on the stage of cancer, will be carried out by a multidisciplinary team of oncologists.
In this respect, it should be mentioned that recently Chadwick Boseman, the star of the American film “Black Panther”, from Marvel Studios, passed away at the age of 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. Hence the importance of performing preventive checks periodically so that similar incidents are not repeated, concludes the doctor.
Dr. Mauricio Leon
Surgical Oncologist at Clínica Ricardo Palma