What Are the Risks of Colorectal Cancer?


Also known as colon cancer, colorectal cancer is a serious gastrointestinal disease and a fatality for many American citizens. This condition affects the final part of the digestive tract, the colon, and occurs as cells in the intestinal lining develop polyps, or benign growths. Over time, polyps can become cancerous tumors, forming colon cancer. Having colorectal cancer assessments at Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology is imperative to identifying signs of colon cancer as early as possible and minimizing your chances of getting this common disease. Book an appointment with our Indianapolis, IN personnel as soon as you can or read on to discover more when it comes to colorectal cancer and its downsides.

Signs of colon cancer

While colon cancer could affect men and women alike, it usually develops in senior adults. Apart from age, risk factors for the condition include genetics, a past of polyps or cancer, GI diseases (such as bowel inflammation), an unhealthy diet, consistent alcohol consumption, and using tobacco products, and more. Many of the most common signs of colorectal cancer in Indianapolis, IN people are:

  • Inconsistencies in bowel habits
  • Excessive bloating
  • Constant constipation
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive diarrhea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Abdominal fullness

There can be no noticeable signs of colorectal cancer in some individuals, specifically in the beginning stages. This makes receiving regular assessments from a gastrointestinal specialist very important to your overall wellness.

When should I have a colorectal assessment?

Colorectal cancer screening at Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology can often look for the issue in the starting stages. As precancerous growths are identified, they can often be removed and cared for more effectively, significantly reducing the risk of cancer forming. Periodic colon screenings with a gastrointestinal specialist can also prevent the development of colorectal cancer. It's often advised that individuals who are not at a higher risk for colorectal cancer begin receiving routine colon cancer checkups before they're 50.

The prevalence of which these tests are performed is dependent upon a patient's medical health and other considerations. Typically, colorectal screenings may be recommended at 5 to 10-year intervals. Being that personal health factors and risks can differ, your GI physician can discuss how often you have to get colorectal cancer evaluations.

What forms of colon cancer assessments are available?

Colorectal cancer screenings may offer your gastrointestinal physician an opportunity to look for signs of polyps or irregular tumors in the colon. As gastroenterology experts, the professionals at Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology feature an impressive variety of colorectal cancer screening tests, including:

  • Virtual colonography: As a noninvasive procedure, virtual colonography relies on computed tomography (CT) imaging technology to examine the colon and rectum for suspicious tissue.
  • Fecal tests: Fecal tests screen for blood in fecal material that may not be visible to the human eye. This type of testing could additionally help identify potentially cancerous cells and cellular DNA changes in a stool sample.
  • Double-contrast barium enema procedures: As radiographic procedures, double-contrast barium enemas entail the insertion of a combination of air and a barium sulfate solution, which coats the outer wall of the large intestine. X-rays are then completed to show lesions or other abnormalities within the large intestine.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: Flexible sigmoidoscopy uses a special camera to produce a live look of the inner rectal wall and lower portion of the colon. This technology may be used during polypectomies or when taking a biopsy of a concerning area of tissue. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is frequently carried out with fecal tests to screen for blood not visible in the stool.
  • Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy is carried out with a long, tube-like scope fitted with a miniature video camera and is conducted to assess the inside area of the whole colon and rectum. Biopsy testing and the excision of precancerous polyps can be done during the exam. Colonoscopy is termed the gold standard test when it comes to colorectal cancer screening and is the only screening procedure that allows doctors to view the whole colon.

Protect your colon health through routine assessments in Indianapolis, IN

Receiving regular colon cancer screenings at around age 45, or as encouraged by your doctor, can locate precancerous tumors immediately and reduce your chances for a colorectal cancer diagnosis. If you would like to know more about how to properly safeguard your overall health with colorectal cancer diagnostics, please contact our Indianapolis, IN specialists at Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology.