How Is Colorectal Cancer Detected?

Colorectal cancer is a cancer of the colon or rectum. About 71 percent of colorectal cancers occur in the colon, with 29 percent occurring in the rectum. Approximately 136,000 adults in the United States are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year. It is the third most common type of cancer in the United States.

How is colorectal cancer detected?

Early detection is what makes colorectal cancer one of the most curable types of cancer. The best way diagnose colorectal cancer is with an annual colonoscopy beginning at age 50. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, however, check with your doctor to find out when you should start having an annual colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination of the large intestine and the outer part of the small intestine with a small camera on a flexible tube. It is used to detect changes or abnormalities like polyps or cancer along the intestine and in the rectum.

What are the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer?

The earlier colorectal cancer can be found, the more likely it can be successfully treated. Many symptoms of colorectal cancer could be caused by something else like hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease. However, if you have any of the following signs or symptoms, talk to your doctor right away:

  • Persistent constipation or diarrhea
  • Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort (e.g. cramps or gas)
  • A change in the consistency of your stool
  • Stools that look more narrow that usual
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • A feeling your bowel doesn’t empty completely
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained iron deficiency

If you’d like to learn more about Alpha Med Physicians Group colonoscopy services or treatments for colorectal cancer, call our team of medical professionals at 708-342-1900. We offer advanced, full-spectrum cancer care backed by experience, compassion and commitment.