What is colorectal cancer?
It is important to note first that colorectal cancer can be detected by screening from your Primary Care Provider (PCP).
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is known by a couple of other names like “bowel cancer” and “colon cancer”. This type of cancer develops from the colon. The colon is the final part of the digestive system in the large intestine. It is considered to be an important plumbing system that removes waste products from the body.
Cancer is a broad term to describe a disease resulting from cellular changes causing uncontrolled growth (and division) of abnormal cells. Abnormal cell growth can occur in the colon or rectum, which is called “Colorectal Cancer” (CRC). CRC typically starts as growth that is noncancerous called a polyp. The polyp will grow slowly approximately over a 10 to 20 year period. The most common type of polyp is an adenomatous polyp or adenoma.
Once cancer forms within the inner lining of the large intestine, it has the potential to spread into the colon wall or rectum, which may also infiltrate lymph and blood vessels. Because of this, the cancer cells can migrate via blood vessels to other parts of the body, such as the liver, lungs, etc.
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Early stages of CRC may not have symptoms, which is why Caswell Family Medical Center urges you to get screened sooner rather than later.
When symptoms do occur, they are typically the following:
- Cramping and/or discomfort in the lower abdomen.
- Diarrhea or constipation lasting 4 weeks or more.
- Blood in your stool.
- Dark or black stool.
- Fatigue or weakness in the body.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- The urge to expel stool even though your bowel is purged.
Facts about colorectal cancer:
- CRC is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death among women and men combined.
- It is the 3rd most commonly diagnosed of all cancers.
- 1 in 20 will be diagnosed within their lifetimes.
- 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer can be prevented with screening.
- Over 30 million people ages 50-75 are not up-to-date with screenings.
- In 2018, 50,630 estimated deaths happened due to CRC.
- 140,250 new cases of CRC were estimated in 2018.
- Those with a parent, sibling, or child with colorectal cancer are between 2 and 3 times more likely to develop it than those without a family history.
- 25% of people diagnosed have a family history.
- CRC for those under 50 is estimated to be on the rise and more young people are being diagnosed.
Don’t wait to see your primary care provider until you start feeling symptoms. Too often we tend to go without visiting our doctor until we are sick. This is what leads to diseases that could have been caught early on and treated.
Call CFMC at (336) 694-9331 today to schedule your appointment to get screened. It very well could save your life!