There are two types of colorectal cancers: colon cancer, which is cancer found in the large intestine and the lower part of the digestive system; and rectal cancer, which is cancer found in the last several inches of the colon.
Most colon cancers start as benign clumps of cells found in the colon called adenomatous polyps. Over time, some of these polyps can become colon cancer. The vast majority of polyps are small and rarely produce any symptoms. Doctors recommend regular screenings, including colonoscopies, to help prevent colon cancer by identifying polyps before they become cancerous.
There are very few warning signs of colon cancer during the early stages of the disease. As the cancer spreads, symptoms are more likely to appear and will vary depending on the size and location of the cancerous cells.
Some of the symptoms associated with colon cancer and rectal cancer include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bloody stool
- Inconsistency in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation
- Abdominal discomfort lasting for more than a few days
At Methodist Healthcare, we take a multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment and develop personalized treatment for each of our patients. Our medical team understands the needs of our cancer patients and provides the highest level of care and comfort for our patients and their families.