Colorectal Cancer: Keeping it a secret could cost your life!
* Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the U.S.
* Colorectal cancer is preventable if polyps are found and removed early.
* Testing for colorectal cancer is easy to access.
Cancer of the colon and rectum will affect 150,000 Americans this year; over one-third will die of their disease. Only lung cancer kills more Americans each year.
The tragedy is that nearly all colorectal cancer is PREVENTABLE—it is one of the few cancers in the human body that has a pre-malignant stage that can be found and removed before becoming cancerous.
Why, then, do so many people put off evaluation and ignore the screening guidelines that are known to save lives? The answer is embarrassment. Bowel habits are intensely private, and while everyone has concerns from time to time, most are unwilling to discuss them. It is this hesitation that can be deadly.
If you are bleeding from the rectum, or you have a change in the character of your stool, new and persistent constipation or diarrhea, bloating, weight loss and fatigue you need to be thoroughly evaluated by your primary care physician. Some of these symptoms may not be serious, but ruling out a possibly curable cancer is critical.
· Individuals with no increased risk factors or family history should begin annual colorectal screening at age 50.
· Individuals with a relative who has had a polyp or cancer of the colon or rectum should begin annual colorectal screening at age 40, or 10 years before your family member was diagnosed.
Colorectal cancer affects both men and women of all backgrounds. For individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer, however, the risk is substantially higher. Chronic inflammation of the colon, polyps, lack of exercise, smoking and high fat/low-fiber diets can all also increase and individual’s risk for colorectal cancer.
Minimally invasive surgery
If colon or rectal surgery is detected during screening and the cancer needs to be removed surgically, The Christ Hospital offers these robotic-assisted surgeryoptions:
- Low anterior resection (rectal cancer surgery)
- Colectomy, surgery to remove all or part of the colon (colon cancer surgery)
Robotic-assisted surgery is a category of minimally-invasive surgery that allows the surgeon to perform complex surgical procedures using the smallest of incisions with the help of a surgical “robot.” Robotic-assisted surgery is a unique alternative to traditional surgery, which involves a large open incision, as well as laparoscopic surgery, which uses small incisions but is limited to simpler procedures.