Colon Cancer

Shahla Rah, MD, FACG

Gastroenterologist located in Newport Beach, CA & Irvine, CA

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women (excluding skin cancers) in the United States. You may not experience symptoms during the early stages of colon cancer, but routine screenings may find polyps (benign growths) or cancerous tissue early to improve your chances of a cure. Board-certified gastroenterologist, Shahla Rah, MD, FACG, with offices in Newport Beach and Irvine, California, can diagnose and treat colon cancer. She also offers colon cancer screenings. To schedule a consultation, call the office, or select the online booking button.

Colon Cancer Q & A

What is colon cancer?

Colon cancer refers to cancer that develops in your colon, also known as your large intestines. This type of cancer is most often seen in older adults but can develop at any age. 

In addition to your age, you may be at greater risk of developing colon cancer if you have a family history of colon cancer, you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, you eat a low-fiber and high-fat diet, you’re obese, or you’re a smoker.

You may also be at risk if you have a history of colorectal polyps, which are abnormal growths that grow in the lining of your colon. Though these growths are most often benign, some polyps can become cancerous. 

What are colon cancer symptoms?

You may not experience any symptoms during the early stages of colon cancer. As cancer progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Blood in your stool
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling as though you can’t fully empty your bowel

Symptoms of colon cancer can vary depending on the portion of the bowel affected. If you’re experiencing these symptoms or have concerns about colon cancer, contact Dr. Rah and schedule an evaluation.

How is colon cancer treated?

Dr. Rah develops individualized treatment plans for colon cancer based on the portion of your large intestines affected and the stage of your cancer. In most cases, surgery is recommended to remove the cancer. Dr. Rah may recommend chemotherapy following your surgery to kill any cancer cells remaining in your body to prevent a recurrence.

If you have a large tumor in your colon, Dr. Rah may suggest radiation therapy to shrink the tumor before surgical removal. Radiation may also be recommended to alleviate symptoms if surgery isn’t an option. 

When should I start colon cancer screening?

You should start colon cancer screening at age 50. You may benefit from earlier screenings if you have a family history of colon cancer. 

Dr. Rah performs a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer. During this minimally invasive procedure, she uses a colonoscope (thin flexible tube with a camera) to evaluate your rectum and the entire length of your large intestines. 

If Dr. Rah finds any polyps during your colon cancer screening, she removes them and has them sent for testing. Colon cancer screenings are repeated every 10 years.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rah to discuss colon cancer testing and treatment, contact her office by phone or online today.