What Are Five Important Facts to Know About Colon and Rectal Cancer?


The colon, which makes up the longest share of the large bowel, carries out a critical function in digestion. As the remnants of food pass through the colon, the last lingering nutrients and water are absorbed, and the debris is then propelled out by way of the rectum as stool. Cancer that develops in the colon or rectum is usually grouped together as colorectal cancer.

Per the American Cancer Society, about 150,000 new colorectal cancer diagnoses occur annually. Thankfully, colorectal cancer is easily detectable through colonoscopy procedures. When identified in the early stages, the likelihood of beating colorectal cancer is very good. To find a colonoscopy doctor near you and arrange for a colorectal cancer screening, reach out to Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, located throughout DFW.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and Texas Digestive Disease Consultants aims to bring you the essential information you need to understand colorectal cancer and help keep you and your loved ones safe. Read on to discover five important facts surrounding colon and rectal cancer.

#1: Colon and rectal cancer is the second most cause of cancer-related deaths.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading reason for cancer fatalities among adults. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 52,000 people will pass away from colorectal cancer this year. Due to regular colonoscopies and colon cancer awareness nationwide, colon and rectal cancer deaths are diminishing. Regrettably, it is estimated that around one-third of adults in the United States are not up to date on their colonoscopy screenings.

#2: Colon and rectal cancer rates impact genders evenly.

The American Cancer Society theorizes that about 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will develop colon and rectal cancer at some point during their lifespan. As such, gender is not a colon and rectal cancer risk factor; women and men have roughly the same chance of being diagnosed with the disease. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:

  • Being 45 or older

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Cigarette smoking

  • Having a family history of colorectal cancer

  • High alcohol consumption

  • Obesity

#3: There might be no obvious signs of colorectal cancer.

As reported by the Colon Cancer Coalition, about 60% of men and women identified with colon cancer are diagnosed with advanced cancer, most likely because they did not undergo a colonoscopy until there were signs of a threat. Individuals in the beginning stages of colon cancer will possibly show no indicators of the cancer, and when colorectal cancer does show symptoms, it is commonly late-stage. If you are displaying symptoms of colon and rectal cancer, they are likely to be:

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Abdominal pain or distress

  • A change in bathroom habits, like persistent diarrhea or prolonged constipation

  • Blood in your stool

  • Tiredness

If you or a family member is encountering these serious colorectal cancer signals, schedule a colonoscopy as soon as you can. You can connect with a GI specialist in DFW by contacting our team at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants.

#4: When identified early, colorectal cancer is very treatable.

Colorectal growths can take about 10 – 15 years to become cancerous. Pre-malignant polyps can be removed before they begin to develop into a problem, which makes colon cancer highly preventable in comparison with other cancers types. People who are diagnosed with localized, early-stage colon and rectal cancer have a significantly improved prognosis than patients whose colon or rectal cancer has spread. The five-year odds of survival for limited colon and rectal cancer is roughly 90%. When detected late, the five-year survival rate decreases to less than 10%. Please do not wait for symptoms to be tested.

#5: You should begin receiving routine colon cancer exams at age 45.

If you have an average chance of developing colon and rectal cancer, then the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises having your initial colonoscopy around age 45 and then once every decade if no irregularities are identified. Patients with a higher risk of colon cancer should schedule normal colonoscopies around every 3 – 5 years or as advised by a GI specialist. Several home-screening options for colon and rectal cancer testing have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); however, colonoscopies remain the preferred standard for the discovery and avoidance of colorectal cancer.

Find a GI doctor in DFW

If it is time to schedule your colorectal cancer screening, Texas Digestive Disease Consultants is here to help. We can connect you with a local GI doctor who will place your health, comfort, and needs first. People facing colon and rectal cancer and various intestinal diseases can put their faith in our doctor-led network of gastroenterologists in DFW. For further information on colon and rectal cancer or to schedule a colonoscopy, please contact a Texas Digestive Disease Consultants location near you today.