Colorectal Cancer – Signs, Symptoms, And Diagnosis

Signs Of Possible Colon Cancer

Some of the possible signs of colon cancer include a change in bowel habits; bright red, very dark, or narrower than usual stools; diarrhea; constipation; a feeling that the bowel does not completely empty; frequent gas pain; bloating; fullness; cramps; unexpected weight loss; a feeling of being very tired; and, vomiting. These signs may be due to causes other than colon cancer but should nonetheless be promptly brought to the attention of primary care physicians or other appropriate heath care providers.

Diagnostic Testing For Colon Cancer

There are various methods used to test for and diagnose colon cancer including an extensive physical examination and patient history; a digital examination of the rectum by inserting a lubricated gloved finger into the rectum to feel for anything unusual (a few moments of minor discomfort can save a life); a fecal blood test (small stool samples are placed on special cards provided for that purpose that are returned to the health care provider which is then examined under a microscope for the presence of blood); a barium enema, also known as a “lower GI series”, during which a liquid containing barium is placed into the rectum and a series of x-rays are taken of the lower gastrointestinal tract;  a sigmoidoscopy, during which a flexible thin tube with a camera and a light is inserted through the rectum into the sigmoid  colon (the lower colon) to inspect for polyps (small pieces of bulging tissue) and other abnormalities during which polyps or other tissues can be removed by a special tool for viewing under a microscope; a colonoscopy, which is similar to a sigmoidoscopy and which inspects the colon (a virtual colonoscopy uses computed tomography (a “CT scan” that uses a series of x-rays that are then converted by a computer into detailed images that can be viewed on a screen) rather than a thin tube inserted through the rectum); and, a biopsy during which a small amount of tissue is removed and inspected under a microscope.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Signs Of  Possible Rectal Cancer

The signs of possible rectal cancer are similar to those for colon cancer and may include a change in appetite.

Diagnostic Testing For Rectal Cancer

The diagnostic testing for rectal cancer is similar to the testing for colon cancer. A proctoscopy may be done instead of a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopyFurther testing may include a carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) assay that is a blood test that determines the level of CEA that may indicate rectal cancer if the level is elevated.

Source: National Cancer Institute

As with most cancers, early detection and treatment of colon cancer and rectal cancer are the keys to the best possible outcome.

If your colon cancer or rectal cancer was misdiagnosed or late diagnosed, you may have a medical malpractice claim against your negligent health care provider. Visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your area who may be able to investigate your medical malpractice claim and represent you if appropriate. You may also telephone us toll free at 800-295-3959. Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 at 10:22 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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