Understanding Colorectal Cancer: Signs, Symptoms, and Risk Factors


Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a situation nobody wants to face. No matter if the news concerns you, a friend, or a family member, it often causes feelings of fear and devastation. At Colorado Gastroenterology, we feel that being aware of the risks surrounding your condition can allow you to have greater control over such a diagnosis. Knowing the symptoms, indications, and your family’s history of colon and rectal cancer can help to catch the disease in the early stages and offer you a wider range of treatment options.

How is colon cancer identified?

At times referred to as "bowel cancer" or "colon cancer,” colorectal cancer begins in the colon (large intestine) or rectum and causes cells in the area to multiply out of control. Colorectal cancer is commonly treatable, so we recommend that patients aged 45 and above have a regular colon cancer screening in Denver, CO to decrease their chances of allowing this disease to go undetected. If you have had a family member with colon or rectal cancer or if you have been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal condition, like ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, it is vital to get screened for colorectal cancer as soon as you turn 45.

Identify the signs and symptoms for colorectal cancer awareness

In addition to advising you to receive screenings regularly, we also recommend that you become familiar with the signs and symptoms of colon cancer. Though the indications may not be evident in the beginning, knowing these factors may help to identify the disease in the initial stages.

Typical signs and symptoms of colon and rectal cancer could include:

  • Changes in bowel habits or bowel movements

  • Bloody stools

  • Diarrhea or difficult bowel movements

  • Abdominal cramps, pains, or aches that persist

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Incomplete bowel movements

Though these signs or symptoms might seem indistinct, if recurrent, it is a good idea to reserve an appointment at Colorado Gastroenterology so our GI doctors can learn more about your signs and symptoms. Our Denver, CO gastroenterologists prefer to exercise caution as it relates to the health of our patients.

Will I get colon cancer if a family member has it?

Should you have a family member that has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, it is important to know that you may have a greater risk of the disease. We urge you to use this information to your advantage and make wise decisions when getting colorectal cancer screenings.

We strongly suggest that when speaking with your gastrointestinal specialist, you relay as much of your family history as you can. During your appointment, it is a good idea to provide details about the medical history of your mother, father, brothers, and sisters, and your father and mother's sides of the family (grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and more). When possible, provide the type of cancer your family member had, when they were diagnosed, and whether the cancer was the reason for death. Providing this information can help our team prepare the best possible preventive plan for your needs.

At Colorado Gastroenterology, we might recommend a colonoscopy screening around age 30 if an immediate relative has had colon or rectal cancer. When the family member is not an immediate family member, we advise screenings for colon and rectal cancer starting around the age of 45.

Set up your screening for colon and rectal cancer in Denver, CO

Though a cancer diagnosis is always scary, knowing signs, symptoms, and family history can help you understand your chances of developing colorectal cancer and being diagnosed early. At Colorado Gastroenterology, our team is here for you and ready to help you get screened for colorectal cancer. To meet with an experienced gastroenterologist in Denver, CO, contact our office for an appointment.