Colon Cancer Screening and Treatment by Top-Rated Doctors at Mercy Medical Center

Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy - Colon Cancer

Colon cancer and rectal cancer, known as colorectal cancer, are cancers that can be successfully treated if detected early. Our team of specialists at The Center for Inflammatory Bowel and Colorectal Diseases at Mercy in Baltimore are among the best doctors to diagnose and treat colon cancer. Patients from across the Baltimore Metropolitan area turn to our doctors for regular colon cancer screenings in order to detect and treat any possible colon cancer early.

About the Condition

Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine, also known as the colon. Rectal cancer is cancer in the last few inches of the colon. Colon cancer and rectal cancer together are known as colorectal cancer.

Colon cancer and rectal cancer typically develop slowly over several years. Most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp, which is an abnormal growth of cells in the colon. Removing colon polyps early may prevent them from becoming cancer. It is important to have a regular colon cancer screening to detect and remove colon polyps before they become cancerous. Colorectal cancer is highly treatable and often a curable cancer when localized.

Men and women are almost equally affected by colon cancer. African Americans and Hispanics are at higher risk for colon cancer and are more likely to be diagnosed in the more advanced stages of cancer.

Hereditary colorectal cancer is passed between generations through an inherited mutated gene that causes cancer to develop at an early age. Although the majority of colorectal cancer cases are not hereditary, a strong family history of colorectal cancer on one side of the family greatly increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Since colorectal cancer seldom has symptoms, it is important to have a regular colon cancer screening to detect and remove any colon polyps.

When colorectal cancer symptoms do occur, they can be similar to other digestive diseases and include:

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in stool
  • Cramps
  • Gas
  • Pain
  • A sense the bowel has not emptied completely
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Colon polyps often are removed during a colonoscopy. However, if the polyps are too large to remove during a colonoscopy, they are removed through laparoscopic surgery. In advanced stages of cancer in which the cancer has moved through the colon wall, part of the colon may need to be removed. Colon cancer treatment options then may include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, or targeted drug therapy.

NEXT: Patient Stories ›
Patient Stories
Mercy Medical Center Patient

Jeanette

Jeanette was proactive in her regular physical exams but had put off a colonoscopy because her health was good and her family history was clear.

Barbara - Mercy Patient

Barbara

After feeling ill on New Years Eve, Barbara had a screening that revealed a cancerous tumor in her colon.