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Colorectal Cancer: What You Need To Know And How The Phelps Team Can Help

According to Dr. Anna Komorowski, a medical oncologist at Phelps Hospital, some people may be at higher risk for developing colorectal cancer.
According to Dr. Anna Komorowski, a medical oncologist at Phelps Hospital, some people may be at higher risk for developing colorectal cancer. Photo Credit: Phelps Hospital

Colorectal cancer is the third most common malignancy diagnosed in the United States, excluding skin cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates that there are approximately 145,600 new cases each year. It is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. However, unlike many other cancers, it is preventable if detected early, which is why colonoscopies are imperative to survival and prognosis outcome.

Some people may be at higher risk for developing colorectal cancer

  • People with
    • Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis
    • A family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
    • Genetic syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer
  • African Americans
  • People who are overweight or obese
  • People with type II diabetes

Don’t ignore the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer

Rectal bleeding in people at any age should not be disregarded. It may be misdiagnosed as bleeding from hemorrhoids. Iron deficiency with or without anemia might be a symptom of colorectal cancer. Any of those conditions should be evaluated by a gastroenterologist.

Other symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

  • Rectal bleeding (at any age)
  • Anal mucus secretion
  • Exhaustion and physical weakness
  • Painful evacuation
  • Pain or cramping in the abdomen
  • Persistent change in bowel habits
  • Progressive abdominal discomfort and fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Talk to your doctor if you have been experiencing these symptoms.

Ways to lower your risk for colorectal cancer

Understanding your family health history is also an important factor in understanding your potential risk for disease, including cancers. Always keep your doctor informed about updates in your family history of cancer.

Early screening can prevent colorectal cancer and save your life

In response to the alarming increase of younger individuals being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society has updated its screening guidelines. These guidelines are now implemented to consider screening colonoscopy between the ages of 45-49 to help diagnose cancer at a less advanced stage.

Phelps offers you the support and treatment modalities you need

At Phelps, we offer flexible scheduling and daily access to our team of experts that includes award-winning nurses, physicians, pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers, and other supportive care staff to minimize the side effects of treatment and help maximize your quality of life. We’re dedicated to educating and helping our patients with our multidisciplinary approach.

Our team at Phelps offers the most advanced, individualized surgery, medical oncology and radiation treatment options to treat colorectal cancer. We offer many treatment options, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapies. Phelps Hospital collaborates with the leading colorectal cancer researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and other pharmaceutical partners for innovative research studies that test promising new therapies.

If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy. Talk to your primary care doctor or visit our website and let our supportive, multidisciplinary team care for you.