Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., causing about 50,000 deaths each year. More than 140,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer each year, making it the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S.
In its very early stages, colon cancer may cause few if any symptoms, which is why having a colonoscopy is so important to maintaining your health and diagnosing cancer when it's most treatable. As colon cancer progresses, it can cause symptoms such as:
blood in the stool
diarrhea, constipation or other changes in bowel habits
changes in the consistency of your stool
persistent cramps, bloating or abdominal pain
unexplained weight loss
Symptoms can vary, depending on where the tumor is located as well as its size.
Colonoscopy is the gold standard for diagnosing colonoscopy. The American Cancer Society recommends colon cancer screening begin at age 50 or earlier if you have a family history of the disease or certain risk factors that make you more likely to develop colon cancer.
In early stages when the cancer is small and restricted to one or more small polyps, it may be completely removed during a colonoscopy. Larger polyps may be removed through an endoscopic procedure called a resection or laparoscopically using very small incisions. In invasive cancer, surgery will be needed to remove a portion of your colon along with the tumor. Radiation or chemotherapy (or both) may also be recommended following surgery. Radiation may also be used prior to surgery to reduce the size of very large tumors. Targeted drug therapy may also be effective.
Colon cancer screening relies on a simple, minimally-invasive procedure called colonoscopy to look inside the colon for polyps, fleshy growths which are sometimes an indication of early colon cancer, and other abnormal signs. When a polyp is located, it can be removed during the colonoscopy procedure and sent to a lab where it can be more completely evaluated for the presence of cancer cells. Colon cancer is performed under sedation on an outpatient basis and typically takes less than a half hour to perform.
In order to view your colon, it needs to be clear of fecal matter. The day before your colonoscopy, you'll need to take a medication that will cause you to empty your bowel so it will be empty for your procedure. You'll also be restricted to clear liquids during the preparation period, and you'll need to fast for about 12 hours prior to your procedure.
Once your procedure is over, you'll go to a recovery area for a brief period of time while the sedation wears off before being discharged to go home. You'll be able to eat normally, but because you will have been sedated for the procedure, you'll need someone to drive you home. If polyps were removed, you may have some very mild spotting for a brief period of time. You may be a little tired from the sedation, but you'll be able to return to work the next day.
The American Cancer Society says everyone should be screened for colon cancer beginning at age 50 and every 10 years thereafter. People with risk factors for colon cancer should be screened earlier and more often, beginning at age 40 and every five years thereafter.
For your convenience, we've created a short list of the providers we accept. If you do not see your insurance provider listed on our site, please call our office to confirm coverage.
“He is one of the best doctors I've ever dealt with, and I would highly recommend him to anyone who is having GI issues. Thank you Dr. Basseri!”
"Clear, concise explanation of procedure and risks. He made sure I was comfortable with how we were to proceed and that all questions were answered. Top-notch."
"I've seen Dr. Basseri for approximately a year now and I must say that he is the best, friendliest, honest, and trustworthy doctor I have ever seen."
"Dr. Basseri is a great diagnostician with great compassion. He took time to speak with me and discuss my diagnosis. Very skilled and talented."
"I was impressed by Dr. Basseri's professionalism. He knows how to listen. That's the most important skill for a good doctor."
"This man and his knowledge changed my life. I got my life back. Words cannot express my gratitude!!! Go see this man if you have any GI troubles. He's a true healer."