An Overview of Colorectal Cancer
The Cancer Institute treats patients with a diagnosed colon or rectal malignancy. The center takes a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment and management of colorectal tumors. Once a patient is diagnosed our multi-disciplinary team meets to discuss the best treatment options moving forward.
The colon is a portion of your large intestine that stores waste materials and assists in digestion. The last 5 inches of the colon are called the rectum. Colorectal cancer originates in the colorectal tract. It develops slowly and usually begins as polyps, growths that form along the lining of the colon or rectum. However, not all polyps are cancerous. The cancer doctors at Saint Agnes Hospital can help you determine your risk and provide the expert treatment you need.
What are the risk factors?
- Age. Your risk of developing colorectal cancer increases after age 50.
- Poor diet
- Alcohol use
- Diseases of the colon, such as Crohn’s disease, colitis and irritable bowl syndrome.
What are the warning signs?
Common symptoms include persistent cramping and stomach pain, rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, as well as a persistent feeling that you need to have a bowel movement. A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation, may also indicate colorectal cancer. See your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms.
How is the cancer detected?
The best screening method for colorectal cancer is a regular colonoscopy. Both men and women over the age of 50 should undergo a colonoscopy as recommended by a doctor. For this procedure, a narrow tube is inserted through the rectum so that your doctor can examine the inside of your colon and remove any polyps. These polyps are then analyzed for signs of cancer.
How is the cancer treated?
Most colorectal cancers are treated with a combination of surgery and either radiation or chemotherapy. Fortunately, Saint Agnes of Baltimore boasts some of Maryland’s most experienced surgeons.
There are 2 main types of surgery for colorectal cancer:
For this procedure, your surgeon removes a portion of your colon and reattaches the remaining, healthy tissue.
This procedure is done when there’s not enough healthy tissue left in the colon, or when the healthy tissue can’t be saved. For this, your surgeon connects the remaining portion of your colon to the wall of your abdomen, allowing waste to exit through a permanent tube.
Read more in our treatment methods section.
Need More Information?
For more information on treatment options or any information regarding Caner Institute at Saint Agnes Hospital please contact us at 410-368-2910.
For more information please visit the following:
To find a physician please click here or call 1-866-690-9355.
Important information from the American Cancer Society regarding colorectal cancer
- Each year, about 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
- More than 90% of colorectal cancer cases are in people age 50 and older.
- If found and treated early (while it is small and before it has spread), the five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is about 90%.
To help reduce your chances of getting colorectal cancer:
- Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
- Be physically active.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and with limited red or processed meat.