What is Colon cancer? Symptoms, Treatment
Colon cancer is the leading preventable cause of death in the U. S. Everybody should know that colon cancer is preventable, by doing screening colonoscopies, we can remove those pre-cancerous polyps and therefore, prevent cancers and save lives. Polyps and early tumors are often not symptomatic. So, it’s not as though one can wait for symptoms to develop, then see the doctor, and expect then one will have the best outcomes. The idea is that you want to go in at least 10 years before a problem is going to occur. So typically the peak years for colon cancer is in the 60’s and that’s the reason we start looking at 50. When you go to your colonoscopy, they give you a little sedation and the next thing you know, you’re waking up saying, “Are we done?” It is no big deal. The next point is, who is at increased risk over the general population? People who have a family history of colorectal polyps or cancer are at increased risk.
So, they need to be screened earlier. Other issues that put you at increased risk: it’s known that patients with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are at increased risk for colorectal cancer. We know that there are sub-groups who are at higher risk. (audio only) A particular group of concern is African Americans they have a higher risk of colorectal cancer and may also have a higher risk of dying of colorectal cancer. When anyone’s diagnosed with colon cancer, they will be examined for a gene called Ras, and some other genes, that help tell us if a certain treatment might be more effective, or less effective and to help determine, if their family may have a higher than average, cancer incidence. Patients often ask what they can do in their daily life to decrease their risk of colon, or rectal cancer. There is evidence that a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, low in fat, high in fiber, may be beneficial, avoiding smoking, maintaining a good weight, diminishing the risk factors that may lead to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
All of these things can decrease the risk of forming polyps, or developing colorectal cancer. Like all common cancers, if you can catch them early and take them out, they’re, they’re quite curable and so surgery is still a mainstay for this cancer, unless it’s spread outside the colon. Those patients basically have nodal involvement of their cancer and those patients benefit from surgical resection of the tumor, followed by six months of chemotherapy. Even in Stage 4 patients where, we used to say this was incurable and that sort of thing,we have found that we have had great success in treating patients with Stage 4 cancers. Our chemotherapies are so much better than they were ten years ago; it’s not the same disease anymore.
We have the ability to control the disease, eradicate the disease and so, very challenging situations are brought under control and patients are cured. The number of people that I’ve taken care of that have been told that that this is it, and that we’ve cured of cancer that have gone on to live many, many years is really remarkable. We have very highly complicated, cases that we receive from other, digestive health specialists around the region and around the country. We take advantage of innovative technologies and new ways of treating patients. We deliver it in the most efficient, least invasive and most user friendly way to our patients.
So, for patients thinking about where they can get outstanding care what we promise is that we will evaluate their condition very carefully and bring the best that is available in current medical science to improve their health outcomes. And, also, to make available to them, the ongoing research opportunities as well as application of the latest research where indicated. Whether somebody has a simpler condition, or a more complicated condition, we aim to provide that for the patient and to serve their needs.