Colorectal Cancer Highly Beatable With a Proactive Approach

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than 55,000 lives each year. Yet many of these deaths could be avoided through simple lifestyle changes, regular screenings and prompt treatment.

So why do most people put off seeking medical attention for colorectal cancer? Embarrassment. It can be awkward talking with a doctor about such a personal subject. But keeping silent and avoiding medical care could jeopardize your health—and even cost you your life.

Here’s why you should start discussing colorectal cancer with your doctor. While colon and rectal cancer sometimes manifests itself in symptoms such as blood in the stool and a change in bowel habits, the most common symptom is often no symptom. If you are 50 or older, it’s important to get regular screenings to find polyps before they become cancerous.

Recognized as a leader in the care of diseases of the colon and rectum, Allegheny Health Network’s colorectal specialists offer a full array of colorectal screening options, including colonoscopy. In many cases, a suspicious polyp can be easily removed before it becomes cancerous. If further treatment is necessary, we provide advanced surgical techniques to manage benign and malignant diseases of the colon and rectum. What’s more, many patients who have a colorectal cancer can be treated with minimally invasive surgical techniques to spare normal bowel function and allow a quick return to normal activities.

Take control of your health by get regular screenings and early treatment for colorectal cancer. To schedule an appointment with a colorectal specialist at Allegheny Health Network, call 412.DOCTORS (362.8677).

Symptoms of colon or rectal cancer

While colorectal cancer often strikes without any symptoms, here are a few symptoms that could indicate a serious problem may be lurking:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Weight loss
  • Constant tiredness
  • Abdominal discomfort, gas, bloating or cramping
  • Diarrhea, constipation or vomiting
  • Unexplained anemia
  • A change in bowel habits (narrower than normal stools)

If you notice any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately.

Colorectal prevention guidelines

By adopting simple lifestyle changes, you can help prevent colorectal cancer from occurring. Here are a few basic guidelines that can improve your health:

  • Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in animal fats
  • Avoid smoking or drinking
  • Keep your weight under control
  • Exercise several times a week