The key to colon cancer prevention is early detection of polyps and other signs of colon disease through regularly scheduled screenings.
About 5 percent of American adults—both men and women—develop a form of colon cancer. The vast majority of colon cancers (95%) are slow-growing cancers called adenocarcinomas that form in mucus-secreting glands, and can take 10-15 years to develop. Bassett Healthcare Network’s oncologists use colon cancer screenings to check for polyps and other abnormalities in the colon.
Colon Cancer Symptoms
Colon cancer signs may include:
- Pain or cramping in the abdomen
- Bloody stool
- Rectal bleeding
- Incomplete-feeling bowel movements
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight-loss
- Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, or narrowing of the stool
A number of other conditions, such as hemorrhoids, also present these symptoms, so it’s important to be tested in order to receive an accurate diagnosis.
Colon Cancer Treatment & Diagnosis
At Bassett Healthcare Network, we use several diagnostic tests to look for colon polyps and other abnormalities:
- A colonoscopy is a procedure in which a specialist examines your large intestine (colon and rectum)
- A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure using a thin, flexible tube to examine the lower part of your colon
- A high-sensitivity fecal occult blood test, a test in which you take your own sample at home and send it to your specialist or a lab
Several risk factors are associated with colorectal cancer and increase a person’s likelihood of developing the disease. These colon cancer risk factors include:
- Age – about 90 percent of colon cancers occur in people 50 and older
- Family or personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Race – African American ethnicity greatly increases the chances of colon cancer
- Genetics – a small percentage of colon cancers are linked to genetic mutations or syndromes
The most common treatment for colorectal cancer is surgery. In some instances, we perform robotic surgery, an advanced, minimally invasive procedure that enables surgeons to remove cancerous tissue in difficult-to-reach places.
Schedule a Colon Cancer Screening
Regular colon cancer screenings can find polyps and other colorectal abnormalities before they develop into cancer. To arrange your colon cancer screening, call 1-800-BASSETT or talk to your primary care practitioner about getting a screening.
Bassett Healthcare Network diagnoses and treats colon cancer in Central New York, including its hospitals in Cooperstown, Oneonta, Cobleskill, Herkimer, Little Falls, and more.