What is colon and rectal cancer?
Colon and rectal cancer typically begins in the form of polyps, which are small tissue growths that develop when cells inside your colon lining start reproducing in an abnormal way. Although most polyps start off as non-cancerous growths, some can turn into cancerous tumors, which is why it's best to remove polyps in their early form. Once they become cancerous, they can spread to other areas, like the liver, lungs, and other parts of your body, if not diagnosed and treated immediately.
What causes colon and rectal cancer?
The causes are uncertain, but lifestyle and/or genetic factors play a major role in many cases. Lifestyle factors that may contribute to the development of colon and rectal cancer include:
- Excessive alcohol
- Cigarette smoking
- Lack of exercise
The risk for colon and rectal cancer also increases with age, as it most commonly affects men and women 50 and older. Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis may also contribute to the development of colon and rectal cancer.
Although you can't control your genetic susceptibility to colon and rectal cancer, maintaining optimal health and having regular screenings can help you prevent it in many cases.
How is colon and rectal cancer treated?
Treatment depends on the type of cancer (colon vs. rectum) and its stage, along with other factors specific to you. Prevention is the best treatment, which is why it's so important to have a colonoscopy as recommended by Dr. Araghizadeh. Usually, you'll begin screening at age 50, possibly earlier if you're considered a higher risk.
If Dr. Araghizadeh discovers polyps during your colonoscopy, he can remove them immediately to greatly reduce your cancer risk. Two other options for polyp removal include endoscopic mucosal resection and minimally invasive (laparoscopic or robotic) surgery. Other surgical options include:
Partial or Total Colectomy
A segmental (partial) colectomy is performed when the colon cancer involves one part of the colon. A total colectomy may be recommended if more than one part of the colon is involved. The associated lymph nodes are also removed during this procedure and the entire specimen is sent to pathology for evaluation.
Total Mesorectal Excision
Total mesorectal excision is an operation for the removal of rectal cancer with its associated envelope of tissue. This is the most common operation performed for treatment of rectal cancer.
Sphincter-saving procedures treat low-lying rectal cancer and help you avoid a permanent colostomy. Dr. Araghizadeh has special expertise in performing this operation to help you avoid a permanent colostomy.
After removing the rectal cancer, Dr. Araghizadeh creates a new reservoir (the j-pouch) with your remaining colon to allow you to pass stool normally through the anus.
Coloanal anastomosis is a surgery in which Dr. Araghizadeh removes your rectum and then attaches your colon directly to your anus.
Coloplasty is an alternative to coloanal anastomosis and colonic j-pouch after removal of the rectum to allow for more normal bowel function.
Ileal-Pouch Anal Anastomosis (IPAA, J-Pouch)
During this operation, Dr. Araghizadeh removes your entire colon and rectum and creates a reservoir using the small intestine (a J-Pouch) and connects it to the anus, so you can evacuate normally. This operation is usually performed for patients with Ulcerative Colitis and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP).
Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery
In Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery, Dr. Araghizadeh uses endoscopic microsurgery tools to remove cancerous lesions through your rectum.
Transanal Minimally Invasive Surgery
In transanal minimally invasive surgery, Dr. Araghizadeh uses minimally invasive techniques to remove cancerous lesions that would otherwise be accessible only through open abdominal surgery.
Dr. Araghizadeh is an extensively experienced surgeon who can treat colon and rectal cancer with optimal outcomes, and he’s here to help you.
Click the online scheduler or call the office of Farshid Araghizadeh, MD, MBA, to make your appointment now.