Alvaro R. Bada, M.D.
Ask The Doctor
The American Cancer Society estimates that over 98,000
cases of colon cancer and 37,000 cases of rectal cancer
will be diagnosed in theUnited States this year.  Colorectal
cancers account for about eight percent of new cancer
diagnoses.  In recent years death rates have declined due to
increased colonoscopy screening, polyp removal and
improved
treatment methods.

Q: What is the colon?
A: The colon and rectum form a muscular
tube called the large intestine or large
bowel.  Through a process called peristalsis, digested food
moves from the stomach and small intestine into the colon.
Once in the colon, all remaining water is absorbed into the
body, forming solid waste(stool) which leaves the body
through the anus.
and a family history of colorectal cancer are factors of
increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Q: What are the symptons?
A:  Common symptons of colon cancer:
*Diarrhea or constipation
*Blood in or on the stool
*Frequent gas pains
*General stomach discomfort
*A change in bowel habits
*A feeling that the bowel does not
empty completely
*Unexplained weight loss
Because these  symptoms may be caused by  
other problems consult your Dr. for proper
diagnosing and treatment.
will consider during your initial office visit.  
He may ask you about your personal and
family history, perform a physical exam
and other laboratory tests.

Patients should take an active role in the
early detection of colorectal cancer.
            
  GUIDELINES
*HAVE REGULAR CHECKUPS
*BEGINNING AT AGE 50:

- Have an annual fecal occult blood test
- Have an initial sigmoidoscopy (exam of
the rectum and lower colon) and one
every three-to-five years thereafter.
    TREATMENT OPTIONS

Q: Do I have a choice of treatment?
A: There are several options for the
treatment             of colon cancer, depending on
your age,
the size and location of the tumor, the
stage of the disease (i.e., whether it has
spread to other organs) and your general
health.  You may also have concerns
regarding the treatment process and
potential side effects; therefore, it is
essential for you and your doctor to
discuss all available options leading to
the development of a treatment plan
that is specifically tailored to your
needs and circumstances
.