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Did you know that many people with colorectal cancer have no symptoms or warning signs until their cancer has spread?

Colorectal cancer is a term used for cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. These cancers may also be referred to as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they begin. Here are a few more helpful terms and their meanings:

  • Polyp: Most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp, a small growth of tissue that may grow into the colon or rectum if not removed. Polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy.
  • In Situ: Cancer has formed, but it is not yet growing into the colon or rectum walls.
  • Local: Cancer is growing in the colon or rectum walls; nearby tissue is not affected.
  • Regional: Growth is into tissue or lymph nodes, beyond the colon or rectum walls.
  • Distant: Cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs.

Colonoscopies Save Lives

Colonoscopies can help prevent colorectal cancer or find it an earlier stage when it is smaller and easier to treat.

Have a colonoscopy at age 45 if you have no family history or polyps or colon cancer OR at 10 years younger than the age of a first-degree relative (parent, sibling) who had polyps or colon cancer.

Here's what you can expect for your colonoscopy.

  • Before a colonoscopy, patients are put on a clear liquid diet and typically drink a laxative preparation.
  • During a colonoscopy, a doctor eases a flexible, lighted tube with a video camera on the end inside the colon. Small amounts of air are puffed in to allow the doctor to see clearly. The colonoscope sends pictures to a TV screen.
  • The exam usually takes 30 minutes to an hour.
  • You will be sedated (asleep) for the entire exam.
  • The colonoscope, also called an endoscope, is about the width of a pea.

Click here for more about colorectal cancer risk factors and what you need to know about colonoscopies.

Call (985) 202-6113 to make an appointment with
North Oaks Surgical Associates in Hammond.