Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for: February, 2022

Summary: Although colorectal cancer is one of the leading reasons behind cancer deaths, it's also among the most detectable cancers with routine screenings.

What Are Key Facts and Statistics About Colorectal Cancer?

Since next month is colon cancer awareness month, Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates wishes to provide colon and rectal cancer facts and information that can help you safeguard your health and wellness. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among adults. However, it's also one of the most identifiable and, in many scenarios, preventable cancers with periodic evaluations.

Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates offers state-of-the-art care for gastrointestinal (GI) health and supports patients and their loved ones when receiving a diagnosis and treatment for colon cancer. To schedule an appointment with a board-certified gastroenterologist and colonoscopy doctor in Hinsdale, IL, please contact our office today.

About colorectal cancer

Commonly called colon cancer or bowel cancer, colorectal cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells that originates in the large intestine (colon) or rectum. Colorectal cancer is very common. In fact, 1 in 25 women and 1 in 23 men will receive a colorectal cancer diagnosis at some point during their lifetime. As reported by the American Cancer Society, approximately 150,000 new cases of colon cancer were diagnosed in 2021.

Symptoms of colon and rectal cancer

It can take about ten years for a premalignant growth (polyp) in the colon or rectum to transition into cancer. In its early stages, the condition might not present any apparent indications or symptoms. In the event a person is showing signs of colon cancer, they will likely notice:

  • An unexplained loss of weight
  • Pain in the abdominal area
  • A change in bowel habits
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Blood in stool

If you or someone you know experiences any of these colorectal cancer symptoms, contact Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates right away.

What are the risk factors for colorectal cancer?

Even though the exact cause of colorectal cancer remains unknown, there are a few factors that appear to put some people at an increased risk. Such risk factors are:

  • Age: While colon cancer can affect younger individuals, about 88% of new cases are in individuals who are over 50 years of age. Recently, however, physicians have seen a trend in the direction of earlier diagnosis. As a result, this has modified the recommended age for routine colon cancer screening to 45.
  • Family history of colorectal cancer: Nearly 25 – 30% of individuals who have colon cancer have a family member who also has been diagnosed with the disease.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Persons who have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are more likely to develop colorectal cancer.

How is colon and rectal cancer diagnosed?

Cancer of the colon or rectum is most likely to be identified and diagnosed during a cancer screening process, such as a colonoscopy exam. Although colorectal cancer is often highly treatable if identified early, about a third of U.S. adults are not up to date on their colon cancer assessments. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention surmises that about 68% of deaths resulting from colon cancer could be prevented if all those eligible were current on their colonoscopy exams.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force encourages you to receive your first colonoscopy at age 45 years of age if you are of average risk. To schedule a colorectal cancer screening, please reach out to Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates.

Learn more about colon cancer screenings in Hinsdale, IL

When diagnosed in the early stages, the prognosis for colorectal cancer patients is generally very favorable. Colorectal cancer that has not metastasized outside of the colon or rectum can often be effectively addressed with a five-year rate of survival of approximately 90%. For more information about colorectal cancer screenings in Hinsdale, IL, please contact our office today. The premier physician-led network of GI doctors at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates is here to help you protect your health.

Summary: Gaining an awareness of the signs, symptoms, and your personal risks for colon cancer can help you better preserve your general health.

Know the Signs, Symptoms, and Risk Factors of Colon Cancer Hinsdale GI AllianceBeing diagnosed with cancer is a circumstance no patient wishes to face. Regardless of whether the news involves you, a close friend, or a family member, it commonly causes a crushing feeling. At Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates, we believe that knowing the risks surrounding colon cancer can allow you to have greater control over a cancer diagnosis. Understanding the symptoms, signs, and your family’s history of colon cancer can help to diagnose the disease early on and give you greater treatment options.

How is colon cancer found?

Colon cancer starts in the colon (large intestine) or rectum. At times referred to as "bowel cancer" or "colorectal cancer,” this condition triggers the cells in the large intestine or rectum to multiply out of control. Colorectal cancer can often be treated successfully, so our physicians recommend that patients aged 45 and above receive regular colon cancer screenings in Hinsdale, IL to reduce their risk of having this disease go unnoticed. If you have a close relative with colon cancer or if you have been diagnosed with a bowel condition, like ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, it is essential to start screening for colorectal cancer at age 45.

Signs and symptoms for further colon cancer awareness

Along with encouraging you to undergo colon cancer screenings regularly, we also recommend that you learn about colorectal cancer signs and symptoms. Even though the indications may not be evident in the beginning, having an awareness of these signs and symptoms might help to identify the disease in the initial stages.

Typical signs and symptoms of colon cancer can include:

  • A change in your bowel movements or bowel habits
  • Blood in your stool
  • Diarrhea or difficult bowel movements
  • Persistent aches, pains, or abdominal cramps
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Difficulty emptying bowels

Although these indications may seem vague, if recurrent, it may be a wise choice to reserve an appointment at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates so one of our seasoned GI specialists can assess your health concerns. Our Hinsdale, IL gastroenterologists prefer to be proactive when it comes to the health of our patients.

Will I develop colon cancer if someone in my family has it?

In the event you have a relative that has or has had colon cancer, you could have a greater risk of developing the disease. This information can be used to your benefit when making decisions about when to get colorectal cancer screenings.

We strongly suggest that when talking with your GI specialist, you provide as much of your family medical history as you can. During your consultation, you should offer details about the medical history of your mother, father, brothers, and sisters, along with your father and mother's sides of the family (uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, grandparents, and more). You should discuss the type of cancer your relative had, when it was detected, and whether the cancer was the reason for death. Providing these details can help our physicians establish the ideal preventive treatment plan for your needs.

At Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates, our physicians may advise that you get a colonoscopy around age 30 if an immediate family member has a history of colon cancer. In the event the family member is not immediate, it is recommended to start colon cancer screenings around the age of 45.

Set up your screening for colon cancer in Hinsdale, IL

Even though a cancer diagnosis is always daunting, being familiar with signs, symptoms, and your family's history can help you understand your risks and receive a diagnosis as early as possible. At Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates, we are ready to help you screen for and detect colorectal cancer. To meet with a GI specialist in Hinsdale, IL, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

Summary: A routine colonoscopy is the gold standard for identifying and preventing colon cancer over other forms of screenings, like home-based tests.

Why is a Colonoscopy the Gold Standard for Identifying Colorectal Cancer?

Close to 50,000 individuals in America die from colorectal cancer each year. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined. Fortunately, it is typically treatable and, when identified early, the prognosis can be very good.

Three types of home-based colon cancer screening kits have been approved by the FDA. Such tests work by detecting malignant changes in the feces, like bleeding or DNA markers for colon and rectal cancer. While the comparative ease of these tests may make them feel like an acceptable substitute, it is crucial to understand that the colonoscopy continues to be the best option for the detection and prompt treatment of colon and rectal cancer. For men and women in Hinsdale, IL, a gastroenterologist who can carry out a colon cancer screening is accessible at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates.

Why receive a colon cancer screening?

Early detection is key to battling colorectal cancer. When cancer is detected in the colon or rectum before it has an opportunity to spread, the five-year chance of survival is about 90%. Although additional ways of checking for colon cancer exist, nothing has shown to be as effective and as complete as the colonoscopy exam. The greatest tools in the battle against colon and rectal cancer are colorectal cancer awareness and habitual colonoscopies.

How do colonoscopies work?

To begin your procedure, your GI doctor will provide you with preparation guidelines to make sure your bowel is vacant during the screening. These guidelines can involve:

  • Modifying medicines: If you are on specific prescription drugs for diabetes, blood pressure, or heart problems, then you might need to adapt the dosage or temporarily stop using them.
  • Taking a laxative: Your gastroenterologist might offer you a laxative or "bowel prep" to clear your colon either the evening before or the day of your exam.
  • Fasting: You may be asked to avoid solid food and ingest only translucent liquids for a day prior to your colonoscopy.

During the procedure, you will possibly be administered a gentle sedative to help you relax and then asked to rest on your side. A slender, pliable tube fitted with a small camera on the end will be inserted through your rectum. This tube, the colonoscope, is long enough to extend through the entire colon (large intestine). Your colonoscopy doctor will examine the video from the colonoscope's camera on a special monitor and screen for abnormalities. In the event a growth (polyp) or any other abnormality is identified, special instruments can be placed through the colonoscope to capture samples of the tissue for biopsy.

When should you undergo a colonoscopy exam?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that patients schedule their initial colonoscopy when they are age 45 followed by once every decade if they are of average risk. When patients have an elevated risk for colorectal cancer, our Hinsdale, IL gastroenterologists might advise having a colonoscopy on a 3 to 5-year basis. Colorectal cancer risk factors include:

  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Digestive concerns, such as Crohn's disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Personal history of multiple polyps, large polyps, or colon cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes

Our GI doctors might also suggest a colonoscopy if any of the following symptoms of colon and rectal cancer are present:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic constipation
  • Bloody stools
  • Pain in the abdominal area
  • Loose stools

Individuals who are showing these signs and symptoms are encouraged to call Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates to meet with a gastrointestinal physician as soon as possible.

Why is a colonoscopy considered the gold standard?

Though some home screening tests have been approved by the FDA, a colonoscopy is still the most effective way to detect colon and rectal cancer. In addition, large or potentially malignant polyps can be excised with a colonoscopy which decreases the need for further procedures. An individual who tests positive on a home screening kit will still need to undergo a colonoscopy to verify the results and remove any cancerous or precancerous polyps.

Schedule your colon cancer screening in Hinsdale, IL

For adults age 45 and older, receiving periodic colorectal cancer screenings is a critical part of protecting your digestive and general health. A colonoscopy screening at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates can help identify and prevent colon and rectal cancer, offering you peace of mind if you are cancer-free and giving you a good fighting chance if cancer is detected early. To schedule your colonoscopy in Hinsdale, IL, or to learn more about protecting yourself against colorectal cancer, please reach out to our GI team today.