Colorectal cancer (commonly referred to as 'colon cancer') is preventable, and highly treatable when found early. Yet, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. That is why screening for colorectal cancer is so important.
Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS)
South Bay Hospital offers Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS). This technology can be used to gather information about rectal and anal polyps and tumors.
The TRUS uses sound waves to create 360 degree images of the anal canal and rectum. These images help a doctor determine the depth of a tumor and lets the doctor know if a tumor has spread into the wall of the rectum and adjacent lymph nodes. This is all vital information for the doctor prior to surgery and treatment.
In the early, most treatable stages, colon cancer often has no symptoms. If you are age 50 or older, you should be tested, especially if you have a family history or other risk factors. After the early stages, the following symptoms may occur:
- Change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or stool narrowing)
- An ongoing feeling that you need to have a bowel movement
- Bleeding from rectum or blood in stool
- Cramping or gnawing stomach pain
- Decreased appetite
- Weakness and fatigue
- Jaundice (yellow-green skin and white of eye)
The risk of colorectal cancer increases with age. More than 90 percent of cases are diagnosed in individuals 50 and older.
A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps or of inflammatory bowel disease of significant duration increases the likelihood of having colorectal cancer. Also, there are certain genetic factors that increase the likelihood of having colon cancer, including conditions called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Gardner’s syndrome, hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, and being of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
African Americans have the highest colorectal cancer rates and the highest rate of death from the disease of any racial or ethnic group in the United States.
Other Risk Factors
- Alcohol consumption
- Physical inactivity
- Diet high in fat and/or red meat or processed meat
- Diet low in fruits and vegetables
Colon cancer almost always starts with a small growth called a polyp. Screening can find and remove polyps before they become cancerous, and it can identify cancer at its earliest, most curable stages. So, talk to your doctor about getting tested.