Colon and rectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer in the United States. Also known as colorectal cancer, colon and rectal cancer includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. At UAMS, we know how scary a diagnosis of colon cancer can be. However, our team of doctors will help you not only during the process from diagnosis to treatment, but also will continue to provide long term follow-up care after treatment is completed.
The exact cause of most colon cancer is unknown, but there are certain risk factors. They include:
- Diet – Colorectal cancer is often associated with a diet high in red and processed meats
- Family history – People who have a strong family history of colorectal cancer in a parent or sibling have an increased risk
- Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease – People who have an inflamed lining of the colon are at greater risk
- Physical inactivity
Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of colon cancer, accounting for more than 90 percent of cases. Adenocarcinomas are tumors that start in the lining of the intestines. Gastrointestinal stromal tumors, lymphoma and carcinoids are the three other kinds of colorectal cancer.
Most colon and rectal cancers do not cause symptoms in the early stages. This is why screening is important — to detect these cancers when they are smaller and more easily treated. The symptoms of colon cancer will vary with each individual but some of the most common symptoms include:
- Change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation
- Change in the caliber or diameter of the stool, usually narrowed stool
- Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
- Dark black or tarry looking stools
- Cramping or gnawing abdominal pain
- Decreased appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Constant feeling of needing to have a bowel movement
At UAMS, our caring doctors will evaluate your individual situation to seek the best treatment plan for you. Our experienced doctors use state-of-the-art technology and facilities to ensure that you will receive the best care possible.
For more information on how we diagnose and treat colorectal cancer or for an appointment, call 501-686-8211.