Los Angeles Colon Cancer Treatment
If you or your loved one has recently been diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer, or if you are searching for a medical/surgical treatment center to effectively treat your colorectal health issues, our team of world-renowned colorectal surgeons provides the highest level of medical and surgical opinion and care. Our colorectal surgeons are pioneers in the field of colon cancer treatment, utilizing the most advanced technology. We are leaders in minimally invasive robotic colorectal surgical techniques, which have been proven to result in the better outcomes, fewer complications and faster recovery time.
What Is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer, cancer that begins in either the colon or the rectum, is the 2nd most common cancer in the United States. Colon cancer affects the large intestine of the digestive tract (the colon), while rectal cancer is located in the last several inches of the colon. When discussed together, these conditions are referred to as colorectal cancers. Colorectal cancer often forms slowly, over the course of several years, when a polyp (non-cancerous growth) becomes present on the lining of the rectum or colon. What’s most astonishing is the fact that this disease is thought of to be preventable, yet has the 2nd highest rate of incidence. This is why colonoscopy is such an important tool in the prevention of colorectal cancer. By using screening colonoscopies, a physician can detect pre-malignant polyps and remove them before the cells become cancerous.
Adenomatous polyps are what develop into cancerous tumors and are seen as a pre-cancerous condition. And while inflammatory polyps are generally benign, it is still important for your doctor to monitor. If the tumor were to continue to grow into the wall of the colon or rectum, it can potentially get into the lumph vessels or blood and metastasize, spreading to other areas of the body.
We Provide the Following for Our Colon Cancer Patients:
- Specialty trained physicians who consistently deliver superior outcomes
- The latest in minimally invasive surgery and robotics to minimize pain and discomfort
- A VIP treatment through high-quality care, patient advocacy, and personalized care every step of the way
Who is at Risk?
Although colorectal cancer can occur at any age, it affects most individuals over the age of 40. Often referred to as the “silent” disease, patients often present no symptoms until the cancer is advanced. However, if this type of cancer is found early, the cure rate is 80% or better, making regular screenings a vital competent to your routine health exams. Anyone may develop colorectal cancer, but there are a few factors that may increase your risk for the disease.
Other risk factors include:
- Family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- African American descent
- Smoking/Alcohol Abuse
- Personal history of polyps
- Personal history of cancers of other organs especially uterus, ovaries, or breast
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease (CD)
If someone in your family has been diagnosed with colon cancer, you’ll want to start the screening process for both colon and rectal cancer 10 years before the age that he/she was diagnosed. For other individuals, colon cancer and rectal cancer screenings should begin at age 50.
Colonoscopy is the best tool for screening and preventing colorectal cancer. With early detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps, colorectal cancer can be prevented altogether. If at the type of colonoscopy polyps are found, the chance of future cancer does increase. Therefore, it is recommended that a patient then has routine colonoscopies every 3 – 5 years instead of every 10. Like most all cancer-related diseases, early detection is key! Do not put off getting your colonoscopy. If you notice any change in your bowel habits, have experienced sudden and unexpected weight loss, and/or experience rectal bleeding, make an appointment for a private consultation with one of our renowned colorectal specialist in our office.
What are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?
Early cancers and polyps do not generally cause any symptoms, which is why screening (colonoscopy) is so important in preventing this disease. When symptoms do develop, the most common symptoms are rectal bleeding and changes in bowel habits such as constipation or diarrhea. Some patients with more advanced forms of the disease may also experience abdominal pain, weakness or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, or sudden weight loss.
When Should You be Screened for Colorectal Cancer?
All individuals who are at an ‘average risk’ should have a screening colonoscopy beginning at the age 50, every 10 years to follow if no cancers or polyps are found.
Individuals of African Americans decent have a higher risk of colorectal cancer and are recommended to begin screenings at the age of 45, and then every 10 years to follow if nothing is found.
People with a family history of colorectal cancer, or polyps, suggests they have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. Individuals with a strong family history of other known genetically mutated cancers such as breast, ovarian or uterine cancer, are also at a great risk and should have a colonoscopy at age 40, or 10 years before the youngest diagnosed relative.
Polyps detected at the time of colonoscopy may put you at a higher risk for developing cancer. If you have had a polyp detected on colonoscopy you should have repeat colonoscopies every 3 to 5 years to screen for new growths.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis puts individuals at a great risk for developing pre-cancerous lesions. Those suffering from IBD should have a colonoscopy 8 years after initial diagnosis, and then every 2 years to follow.
How is Rectal Cancer Treated?
The treatment process for rectal cancer is heavily dependent on how far the tumor has penetrated into the wall of the rectum. After you have been diagnosed it is likely that several tests including a CEA blood level, CT scan or PET scan of your chest, abdomen, and pelvis will be ordered to analyze if cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Usually, an in-office exam will also be conducted to assess how close the tumor is relative to the anus and sphincter muscles. In addition, a rectal ultrasound or pelvic MRI may also be performed to determine how deep the tumor has penetrated and to see if any lymph nodes have been invaded. For cancers affecting the lower portion of the rectum, a sphincter-sparing surgery may be an option if cancer has not affected the sphincter muscles. In certain cases, when the anal sphincter muscles are affected by the tumor, removal of the entire anus and rectum may be necessary in order to ensure the highest possibility for a cure.
How is Colon Cancer Treated?
The treatments for colon cancer and rectal cancer are somewhat different. After you are diagnosed with colon cancer, your physicians may order several tests including blood (CEA level) and imaging tests (typically CT scan or PET scan of your abdomen and pelvis). If your cancer appears to be early stage, then surgery is the next step. This involves removal of the involved segment of colon along with the mesentery containing the lymph nodes and reconnection of the bowel. In most cases, this can be accomplished by minimally invasive surgery such as laparoscopy or robotic-assisted surgery. At the Surgery Group of LA Dr. Yosef Nasseri is one of the most sought-after and highly skilled robotic colorectal surgeons, utilizing the latest and most advanced surgical techniques to treat cancers of the colon and rectum. Once a tumor is evaluated by a pathologist, our team of specialist will then tailor and individual treatment plan to meet the patient’s specific needs