Digestive Disease Associates, Hinsdale, Illinois, physician Dr. Suman Kaur recommends a screening for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50 or age 40 if you have a family history of colon or rectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer begins in the colon or the rectum and most often involves the growth of a polyp. However, not all polyps are cancerous. Colorectal cancer begins in the innermost layer of the wall of the colon, can expand into blood or lymph vessels and may spread to other parts of the body.

Colorectal cancer may have no initial symptoms, which is why it is important to undergo regular screenings (such as a colonoscopy).

When present, symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Narrowed stools
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Sensation that your bowels are not empty
  • Bloody stools
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer and may include:

  • Stage 0: Surgery to remove the tumor
  • Stage I: Removal of polyp; possible removal of the section of colon that has cancer and nearby lymph nodes
  • Stage II: Removal of the section of the colon containing the cancer along with nearby lymph nodes; possible chemotherapy or radiation
  • Stage III: Removal of the section of the colon containing the cancer along with nearby lymph nodes, followed by chemotherapy. Radiation may also be recommended
  • Stage IV: In the event that the cancer has spread widely throughout the body, chemotherapy will likely be recommended

Note: This information shouldn’t take the place of a physician’s care. Please see your physician or Dr. Suman Kaur of Digestive Disease Associates with any questions or concerns: (630) 325-4255.