Tulane Doctors ~ Gastroenterology ~ Colon & Rectal Cancer


human colon illustration

Colorectal cancer is cancer that affects the large intestine or the rectum. It is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are considered separately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined. Colorectal cancer may not cause any symptoms at first, however when it does cause symptoms, they vary significantly. The most common symptoms include stomach pain, change in bowel movements, blood in your bowel movements, or feeling weak or tired. Because of the high incidence of colon cancer, colon cancer screening has been recommended by many medical societies, including the Multisociety Task Force with guidelines recommending basic, average-risk screening beginning at the age of 50. Many recommend screening for African Americans or those with a family history at an even earlier age. The goal of screening is to find and remove polyps before they become cancer, or to find cancer early, before it grows, spreads or causes problems. Colon cancer can be treated depending on the stage of it. Colon Cancer cures are possible. Treatments include surgery to remove the involved portion of the colon, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.

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