Filter Stories By

Early Detection Saves Lives: Understanding Colorectal Cancer Screening Methods

Colorectal cancer is a significant health concern, but early detection and timely intervention can substantially improve outcomes.

Hoag’s highly experienced colorectal cancer care team provides patient-centered, integrated care to address all needs of a patient, from early detection and diagnosis through state-of-the-art surgical approaches.

While the exact cause of colon cancer remains elusive, factors such as age, family history, diet, lifestyle, and certain genetic conditions can increase the risk of developing this disease.

“While symptoms aren’t always apparent in the early stages, paying attention to subtle changes in bowel habits can provide valuable insights into your digestive health,” said William Oh, M.D., colon and rectal surgeon at Hoag Digestive Health Institute. “Nearly all colon cancers begin as benign polyps that slowly develop into cancer. In many cases, colorectal cancer symptoms do not appear until the tumor is large. That is why screening colonoscopy is so critical in detecting polyps before they have turned into cancer.”

Dr. Oh urges patients who experience any of the below symptoms to consult with their Hoag physician:

  1. Persistent Changes in Bowel Habits: Pay attention to bowel movements, including diarrhea, constipation, or changes in stool consistency that persist for more than a few days without an identifiable cause.
  2. Rectal Bleeding: Blood in the stool or bleeding from the rectum can be indicative of various gastrointestinal conditions, including colorectal cancer. While it may present as bright red or darker blood, it’s essential to seek medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause.
  3. Abdominal Discomfort: Persistent abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, or discomfort, especially when accompanied by other symptoms, should prompt further investigation to rule out colorectal cancer or other gastrointestinal issues.
  4. Unexplained Weight Loss: Unintentional weight loss, particularly significant or rapid, without changes in diet or exercise, can be a red flag for various underlying health concerns, including colorectal cancer.
  5. Fatigue and Weakness: Chronic fatigue, weakness, or a general sense of malaise, especially when combined with other symptoms, may warrant medical attention for further evaluation.

To learn more about Hoag’s Colorectal Cancer team and the prevention and treatment options available, visit