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Colon Cancer



Over 95% of colon and rectal cancers are adenocarcinomas, a type of cancer of the cells that are on the inside lining of the colon and rectum. Colon cancer can be prevented if the polyps that form on these linings that lead to the cancer are detected and removed. Recently, screening methods have been recommended for people without symptoms to try to find either the polyps or cancer early. In many cases, these tests can find colorectal cancers at an early stage and greatly improve the chances of successful treatment. Screening tests include:

  • Physical exam - as a part of your routine visit to your physician
  • Fecal occult blood test - take home kits that test multiple stool samples
  • Sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy - an x-ray procedure used in which a tube is inserted inside the colon to look for changes or polyps that might be the start of cancer.
  • Barium enema - an x-ray procedure that takes pictures of the colon

Many colon cancers have no symptoms. Hidden blood in the stool is often the only warning sign of colon cancer. However, you should talk to a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms, as they also can be associated with colon and rectal cancer.

  • A change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that doesn't go away after doing so
  • Loss of weight
  • Constant tiredness
  • Bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stool
  • Cramping or tenderness in the abdomen
  • Unexplained low blood counts
  • Bowel obstruction

If colon cancer is detected in its early stages, it is up to 90% curable.

When colon cancer is found - PET Scanning can help.

If your doctor suspects that you have colon cancer, you will need to have further tests to find out if the disease is really present and to see if it has spread. To find out if the cancer is present, you will need to have a biopsy procedure, which may be done as a part of a colonoscopy. Your doctor may order a series of blood tests to look for substances (like CEA and CA-19-9) that are made by colon and rectal cancer cells and released into the blood stream. In cases of suspected or known colon cancer, your doctor may also order a CT scan to show the structure of the organs and tissues in the abdomen. While these tests can provide information regarding the size and location of the primary tumor and may be able to detect other abnormalities that may represent the spread of the disease, they cannot tell if the abnormalities are benign or cancerous.

PET scanning is an important addition to the tests that can be done right after you are diagnosed with cancer of the colon or rectum.

Contact Care Imaging at 905-712-9500 A PET scan may detect the cancer and see how far it may have spread.

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