Colon & Rectal Cancer: The Warning Signs

Don’t Ignore Symptoms.  They May Be Lifesaving Signposts.

By now, most people are aware of the warning signs of colon and rectal cancer.  Most also know that most colorectal cancers begin as polyps, or overgrowths of normal tissue lining the colon or rectum.  On the other hand, most anal cancers begin from seemingly normal anal tissue, or tissue that is populated by microscopic, unseen HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus.  And, most people know that a proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon or coloproctologist, is both the butt of many jokes and is also the person that we have come to trust to listen to us, screen us for polyps and remove any abnormalities found during a colonoscopy.

It is worth repeating that screening for polyps should start no later than age 50, and in many cases, even earlier.  Also, a regular visit to your physician is important to screen for anal problems or lesions.  Additionally, it is worth reviewing the symptoms of colon and rectal cancer, as well as the similar symptoms of anal cancer.

Colon And Rectal Cancer.  Anal Cancer.  The Obvious Symptoms.

The list of symptoms is rather short, but the value in paying attention to this list is immeasurable:

  • Rectal bleeding.  The color of the blood, whether dark or bright is important to note, but does not necessarily point away from a diagnosis of cancer if it is bright red blood.
  • Change in bowel size.  Narrow stools is a worrisome finding.
  • Change in frequency of bowel movements.

 

Colon And Rectal Cancer.  Anal Cancer.  The Not-So-Obvious Symptoms:

  • Weight loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Abdominal Pain.
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count).
  • Decreased appetite.

What Next?  A Visit With The Proctologist.

In Los Angeles, as in all cities there are many colon and rectal surgeons who can listen to your complaints, examine you and help guide you in the right direction.

A doctor’s visit, specifically an appointment with a colon and rectal surgeon, need not be frightening, a cause for anxiety or even painful.  The visit is actually easy.  A confidential discussion with the doctor is followed by an exam.  The exam usually consists of a digital exam, whereby the doctor places a gloved finger into the rectum to check for any masses or lumps or blood.  In men, the prostate is evaluated.  Yes, it feels strange, as if you are having a bowel movement.  But, it is quick and painless.  This is often followed by a proctosigmoidoscopy, whereby the doctor looks into your rectum through a lighted tube. This may or may not be followed by an anoscopy, in which the doctor looks at the anal area.  Stool is evaluated for unseen, microscopic blood.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates.

A confidential gentle exam is the key to diagnosing and treating diseases of the colon, rectum and anus.  At Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates, this is exactly what will happen.  And, hopefully, you will leave with new found peace of mind, knowing that your problems are most likely related to benign, non-cancerous disease.  By calling (310)273-2310, you can begin the process and schedule a consultation.