Of all the different types of cancer, colon cancer – also known as colorectal cancer– is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.
Colon cancer starts in the colon or the rectum. Most colon cancers start as a growth – or polyp – in the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Over a period of years (typically 10-15 years), these cancer cells can grow outward through the walls of the colon or rectum and into blood vessels or lymph vessels. From there, they can travel to nearby lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
Although there is no sure way to prevent colon cancer, there are things you can do to help lower your risk.
As a leading gastroenterologist, Dr. Abousaif knows the importance of early detection and removal of these polyps before they can turn into cancer. Regular screening is one of the most powerful weapons in preventing colorectal cancer. Screening can also detect colon cancer early when it is small and easier to treat.
Dr. Abousaif believes you should start getting screened as young as 45 years of age, especially if you have a strong family history of colorectal polyps or cancer. There are several types of screening tests available, but a colonoscopy remains the gold standard and is the only method that can detect and remove polyps.
Dr. Abousaif also likes to educate his patients on how their weight, diet, and physical activity levels can impact their chances of developing colon cancer in the first place.
Treatment for colon cancer has changed dramatically over the last two decades. As the techniques have become more advanced, success rates have increased greatly.
Your treatment recommendation depends on what stage and type of cancer you have. In general, treatment options will most likely include surgery to remove the tumor(s), with possible follow-up chemotherapy and/or radiation. There are several different surgical solutions available, including:
Regardless of stage or type of colon cancer you might have, Dr. Abousaif can help you navigate the complexities to choose the treatment that is right for your individual circumstances. Dr. Abousaif can then refer you some of the top colon cancer specialists in the area who can provide expert treatment.