Colorectal cancer is most often prevented with the removal of precancerous growths, and it can be cured if detected early.
Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis at Inspira
Most colorectal cancers start as precancerous growths. Your risk for colorectal cancer increases with age, and some people are at an even higher risk depending on their personal or family history.
While colorectal cancer can be accompanied by a number of different symptoms, it often materializes with no symptoms whatsoever or ones that are hard to recognize. And because the disease can spread without warning signs, routine colorectal cancer screenings are vitally important. Leading a healthy lifestyle and eating a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables is also key in preventing colorectal cancer.
Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
Understanding the symptoms of colorectal cancer can help you recognize them. If you experience the following symptoms—especially if you’re 45 or older—speak with your doctor and get an exam:
- A change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days
- Rectal bleeding, dark stools or blood in the stool
- Cramping or gnawing stomach pain
- Decreased appetite
- Unintended weight loss
- Weakness and fatigue
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
The symptoms of colorectal cancer may resemble other conditions, such as infections, hemorrhoids and inflammatory bowel disease. Remember, it is also possible to have colon or rectal cancer and not have any symptoms. Always consult your physician if you have any questions or concerns.
Screening for Colorectal Cancer
The American Cancer Society recommends men and women follow stool-based or visual examination schedules starting when they turn 45 years old. People at a higher risk should consult a doctor about starting earlier.
Learn more about your screening options here.
Our Approach to Colorectal Cancer
Because no two patients are exactly alike, there are several personal factors that will determine how your Inspira physician will proceed in treating your colorectal cancer, including:
- Your age and overall health
- The location of the cancer/tumor in the large bowel
- Whether it has grown through the bowel wall
- How far it has advanced
For most early-stage colorectal cancers, surgery is the best option as it is the easiest way to remove all present cancer cells. At Inspira, our colorectal surgeons use minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgical techniques to reduce organ trauma, bleeding and scarring. Robotic surgery allows surgeons to perform complicated colorectal cancer operations with improved visualization and smaller incisions. For a patient, this means faster recovery time. Additionally, Inspira has implemented an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program shown to improve recovery while reducing opioid requirements, length of stay and readmission rates after colorectal surgery.
Colorectal surgery can be used in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy to eradicate your cancer more effectively. More advanced cancers may be treated with chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and/or radiation therapy.