Colon Cancer

Gastro Center of Maryland -  - Gastroenterologist

Gastro Center of Maryland

Gastroenterologists located in Columbia, MD

If you’re between ages 50 and 75, it’s important to undergo regular colon cancer screenings. By diagnosing and treating colon cancer in its early stages, you might be able to achieve a full recovery. At the Gastro Center of Maryland, with offices in Columbia, Olney, and Annapolis, Maryland, Dr. Pia Prakash, Dr. Josh Rosenbloom, Dr. Eduardo Castillo, and Dr. Dado Xu provide colon cancer screening and care. To learn more about colon cancer, call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today

Colon Cancer Q&A

What is colon cancer?

Colon cancer is a type of cancer that starts in your large intestine (colon). If colon cancer is left undiagnosed, it can spread to other parts of the body. 

Anyone can develop colon cancer at any age, but it often occurs as people get older. It often manifests in the form of precancerous growths (polyps) on the inner lining of your colon. 

Some polyps can develop into cancer, so it’s important for your gastroenterologist to detect and remove them. Polyps don’t cause any symptoms usually, but once it progresses into cancer, they can cause a variety of symptoms:

  • Fatigue and weakness 
  • Bloody stool 
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Cramps 
  • Bloating

Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States, but fortunately, finding colon cancer through regular health screenings and receiving treatment early can increase your chances of recovery.   

What causes colon cancer?

While researchers aren’t certain about the exact cause of colon cancer, there are some risk factors that may increase your chance of developing the condition. These risks include:

  • Older age (age 50 and up)
  • A history of polyps 
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases 
  • Having a condition like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease 
  • A family history of colon cancer 
  • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption 
  • Obesity 

Some research supports that the cause of colon cancer may be linked to dietary and lifestyle habits. A diet that is low in fiber and high in fat might play a role in the development of colon cancer. In addition, a sedentary or inactive lifestyle may also increase your risk. 

How is colon cancer diagnosed?

There are several types of screening tests that the Gastro Center of Maryland team may use to diagnose colon cancer. The type of screening test you need depends on your medical history and needs.

Colon cancer screening options may include:

 

Stool test

For a stool test, the team asks you to provide a stool sample. The test looks for abnormal DNA or blood in your stool. 

 

Flexible sigmoidoscopy 

During a flexible sigmoidoscopy, the Gastro Center of Maryland team uses a tube with a light and camera to evaluate the lower portion of your colon and rectum. This test looks for any signs of abnormal tissue or polyps.

 

Colonoscopy 

Colonoscopy is the gold standard for screening colon cancer. During your colonoscopy, the team evaluates your large intestine, checking for abnormal tissue or polyps.

 

To find out more about colon cancer screening and care, call the Gastro Center of Maryland or book an appointment online today.