Colon Cancer Prevention FAQs - Houston Colon – Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery

Colon Cancer Prevention FAQs

May 2, 2011

What colon cancer symptoms should I look out for?

Regular screening by a Houston colorectal surgeon is a must if you are over 50, for colon cancer can be present without any signs or symptoms. There are colon cancer symptoms to watch for, such as unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain, blood in the stool and change in bowel habits. An obstruction in the intestines can be a late sign of colon cancer. Immediate surgery is required to remove the blockage. Regular screening can help prevent this.

What kind of tests are available to screen for colon cancer?

The most common screening method for colorectal cancer is called a colonoscopy. Not only does a colonoscopy have the ability of viewing the entire colon, but it can also identify lesions, small and large polyps and can remove these all at the time of the procedure. Colonoscopies are performed every ten years unless otherwise ordered by a physician. Other tests include flexible sigmoidoscopy, virtual colonoscopy and double contrast barium enema. These tests can be done every five years. Fecal blood tests can be performed yearly. If any of these tests have a positive result, a colonoscopy needs to be performed.

Should I see a colorectal surgeon for cancer screening tests?

While fecal tests can be done by your general practitioner, all other tests need to be performed by a qualified gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon in Houston. Your general practitioner can refer you to one.

Is having Irritable Bowel Syndrome a risk for colon cancer?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disease in the gut that causes diarrhea, loose stools, constipation, abdominal cramping and pain. Patients that have irritable bowel syndrome are not at a higher risk for colorectal cancer than patients without it.

Can a young person develop colon cancer?

It is quite unusual for young people to develop colon cancer. There are hereditary syndromes, however, that can cause young people to develop colorectal cancer. These are Familial Adenomatous Polyposis or FAP and Hereditary Non-polyposis Colorectal Cancer or HNPCC. Though rare, it is possible for colon cancer to sporadically occur in young people.

Colon cancer in Houston is one of the most curable of all cancers when caught in its earliest stages.  Regular screening studies, including colonoscopy and stool sample studies, ensure that precancerous and cancerous polyps are detected at the stage where simple removal provides the cure.  If a patient is over 50, they should consult their physician about instigating these screening studies.

The Houston colorectal surgeons at Colorectal Surgical Associates use the latest technologies to remove precancerous and cancerous colon polyps, as well as many other colorectal disorders and diseases.  The use of advanced techniques in laparoscopic surgery enable these colorectal surgeons in Houston to provide optimum results and minimum side-effects when performing colon cancer surgery.