By Sumalatha Satoor, MD, Gastroenterologist, Methodist Gastroenterology
Colorectal cancer (CRC), cancer of the large intestine, is the third leading
cause of cancer related deaths in the U.S., claiming over 50,000 lives
annually, affecting both men and women. CRC related deaths have been on
a steady decline in the United States for the past several decades due
to effective screening and treatment of precancerous lesions called polyps
How does colorectal cancer begin?
This cancer usually begins as a benign precancerous growth called a polyp
that grows in the inner lining of the large intestine over a period of
several years before becoming cancerous. The cancer then spreads both
locally into the wall of the intestine and to surrounding organs and tissues
in the abdomen, as well as to other organs including the liver, lungs
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Symptoms of colorectal cancer include rectal bleeding, a change in bowel
habits and stool form, abdominal pain, black stools, weight loss, anemia
and intestinal obstruction.
What are the risk factors for colorectal cancer?
The risk of colorectal cancer increases with age and is also slightly
more common in men and African Americans. Geographically, Kentucky residents
are at high risk. Risk is highest in individuals with a family history
of colon cancer and polyps, personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
and personal history of breast cancer. Tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption,
physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes and a diet rich in red meat have
been shown to increase the risk. A high fiber diet, aspirin and naproxen
usage and hormone therapy after menopause appear to decrease the risk.
What screening methods are used to detect colorectal cancer?
Early cancer and precancerous polyps are often asymptomatic which makes
the screening a very important tool in the prevention and early detection.
Many modalities are available for early detection and screening for precancerous
lesions, including colonoscopy, CT colonography, barium enema, flexible
sigmoidoscopy, stool occult blood testing, stool DNA testing, and fecal
immunochemical testing (FIT).
Colonoscopy remains the gold standard with wide availability, high level
of effectiveness in reduction of CRC Incidence by 40-50% and longest rescreening
interval (once every 10 years unless polyps are found).
About Dr. Satoor
Sumalatha Satoor, MD, is a Gastroenterologist who provides care at Methodist
Gastroenterology located inside Methodist Hospital at 1305 North Elm Street
in Henderson. She is board-certified by the American Board of Internal
Medicine in gastroenterology and internal medicine and provides care to
patients with conditions affecting the colon, esophagus, gallbladder,
liver, pancreas, small intestine and stomach. Schedule your appointment
with Dr. Satoor by calling 270-826-0002.