Frequently asked questions.
How does colorectal cancer develop?
Almost all cases of colorectal cancer begin with the development of colorectal polyps.
Polyps form when cells lining the colon grow, divide and reproduce in a disorderly way, producing a growth.
Some Polyps contain cells that become cancerous. If they grow long enough, these cells will penetrate
the intestinal wall and eventually spread to other parts of the body.
Can colorectal cancer be prevented?
The answer is yes. Most colorectal polyps are non-cancerous (benign) and remain that way. However, other polyps can become cancerous (malignant) and result in colorectal cancer over a period of five to fifteen years. If these polyps are detected and removed before they become malignant, colorectal cancer can be prevented.
How can colorectal polyps and early cancers be detected?
Regular screening can detect colorectal polyps and early cancers. People with colorectal polyps and early stage cancers most often have no symptoms at all. That is why screening is essential!
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
The most common symptoms are no symptoms at all. Some symptoms of colorectal cancer are:
- A change in bowel habits.
- Diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and narrower than normal stools.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Constant tiredness.
- Blood in the stool.
- Feeling that the bowel does not empty completely.
- Abdominal discomfort- gas, bloating, cramps and unexplained weight loss.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, please talk to your doctor and undergo testing.
Who should be screened for colorectal cancer?
It is recommended that all men and women should begin screening at age 50. Nine out of ten new cases are in people in this age group. Although, colorectal cancer can occur at any age. The American Cancer society suggests that screening begins before the age of 50 in people who have a family history of colorectal polyps or chronic inflammatory bowel disease or a first degree relative with colorectal cancer.
These are just some of the risk factors. Please consult with your doctor regarding your risk factors.