What Makes Us Different?
We understand the need to keep your visits and contact private and confidential. Rest assured that your information is safe with us.
Safety is not a term that we use lightly. From surgical procedures, to check-ups, our number one priority is your safety.
We pride ourselves in getting the job done right. And with our cost-conscious approach, you won't have to worry about a thing.
Patient care is a fine art at ACRIPC. We value your experience and results for the sake of your health.
Colon Cancer: Symptoms, Risk Factors & Treatment
Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute, P.C., (ACRI), provides comprehensive care for colon cancer treatment, with specializations in the diagnosis and treatment of both surgical and non-surgical diseases in the colon, rectum and anus, including benign and malignant diseases.
What is Colon Cancer?
Most cases of colon cancer begin as benign clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps that appear in the large intestine, the final part of the digestive tract. These polyps over time can metastasize into colon cancer. Polyps may produce little to no symptoms. Therefore, it is recommended to receive regular screenings to prevent colon cancer by removing polyps before they become cancerous.
Colon Cancer Symptoms
Unfortunately, early stages of colon cancer may not have symptoms. Symptoms vary between individual and the size and location of your cancer in the large intestine.
- Weakness or fatigue
- Sudden or unexplained weight loss
- Persistent discomfort in the abdomen, such as pain, cramps or gas
- Bloody stool
- Diarrhea, constipation, or change in consistency of your stool
If your symptoms persist for more than four weeks, you experience bloody stool or a sudden, consistent change in bowel habits, schedule an appointment with your doctor. The doctors at ACRI will diagnose your symptoms, discuss your options and provide feedback on potential side effects and what to expect before, during and after any recommended surgeries or screenings.
Colon Cancer Treatment Options
Treatment options for colon cancer vary on the extent of the cancer, its location and size within the large intestine. Colonoscopies and other screening options, like blood tests, will confirm if your symptoms indicate that you have colon cancer. After diagnosis of colon cancer, your doctor will determine the stage, or extent, of your cancer. This will determine the treatment necessary for you.
Treatment of colon cancer largely depends on the stage of your cancer. The highly-trained staff of doctors at ACRI will work with you to determine what treatment works best for you and your conditions and symptoms.
Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Early-stage colon cancer
If your cancer is small, minimally invasive surgery may be suggested. These options include removal of polyps during a colonoscopy; an endoscopic mucosal resection, which includes the removal of larger polyps and a small section of the colon lining; or laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive surgery that is performed through several small incisions through your abdominal wall.
Invasive colon cancer
If your cancer has spread through your colon, different treatment options are available. These include a colectomy, a removal of the cancerous section of your colon (surgery may be able to reconnect healthy tissue, called a laparoscopy); or an ostomy, an opening in the wall of the abdomen to allow elimination of stool into a bag near the opening.
Advanced colon cancer
Advanced treatment options include chemotherapy; radiation therapy; targeted drug therapy; immunotherapy; and if necessary, palliative care. If your cancer is at an advanced stage, ACRI doctors will determine the necessary treatment for your specific condition and symptoms.
Risk Factors and Prevention of Colon Cancer
Risk factors of colon cancer include:
- Inflammatory intestinal conditions, such as Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis
- Personal or family history of colon cancer
- African-American race
- Above 50
- Low-fiber, high-fat diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Heavy alcohol use
Prevention of colon cancer
Making small changes in your everyday life can lower your risk of developing colon cancer.
These changes include:
- Exercise daily (or most days of the week). It’s recommended to exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
- Quit smoking.
- Drink alcohol in moderation Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
- Incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure you receive the necessary vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
The necessary colon cancer treatment or screening depends on you and your symptoms. However, the staff at ACRI are highly-trained on identifying the best options for you. Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute, P.C., provides screenings and treatments that are confidential, cost-efficient and high-quality. ACRI has over four board-certified colon and rectal surgeons trained to deliver comprehensive, effective colorectal surgical care, colonoscopy and other rectal health services. Services are provided in-house or at our AAAASF-accredited surgical facility. We are located in our Southside Birmingham location and Brookwood Medical Center.