Colon Cancer in Washington

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The colon is the last section of the gastrointestinal tract, where the body extracts liquid and salt from the remnants of food. Colon and rectal cancer arises when cancerous masses develop in the colon (large intestine) or rectum. The tumors begin as harmless growths called polyps. Colorectal polyps are small clusters of cells that can eventually become colon or rectal tumors.

Colorectal cancer is more common in older adults. It is the second most common cancer detected in both women and men combined.

It is important to obtain a colonoscopy early in life and then as suggested by your GI physician. At Washington Gastroenterology, our team routinely provides screenings for colorectal cancer. To request a colorectal cancer screening or learn more about this disease, please contact one of our Washington locations.


Prompt treatment for colorectal cancer can help foster a more positive outcome. If you are encountering any of the following signs or symptoms persistently, please request a visit with a Washington GI physician right away:

  • Discomfort during bowel movements
  • A sense that your bowel doesn’t evacuate fully
  • Blood in the stool
  • An unexpected change in bowel movements, including constipation, diarrhea, or a change in the texture of stool
  • Long-term abdominal discomfort, like cramps, flatulence, or pain
  • Persistent urges to have a bowel movement
  • Any of these coupled with weakness and fatigue

Factors that elevate the risk of colon and rectal cancer can include:

  • Age: Colon cancer is mostly diagnosed in people over 50. However, the rates of colorectal cancer in younger patients have been increasing.
  • Family history: If you or a relative has had colorectal cancer or colon polyps, you have an increased chance of colorectal cancer.
  • Heritage: Individuals of the African-American race have a higher risk of colon and rectal cancer than other races.
  • Inflammatory intestinal diseases: Chronic conditions, including Crohn's disease and colitis, can increase your risk of colon cancer.
  • “Typical Western Diet”: Colorectal cancer has been linked with a low-fiber, high-fat, and high-calorie diet.

Cancer survival rates are distributed into types and subject to the degree it has spread upon identification. Localized colorectal cancer is only in the colon. Regional colon cancer is when the disease spreads to the surrounding tissues and organs, and distant is if the cancer has spread to distant portions of the body.

  • Localized colon cancer: 90% 5-year survival rate
  • Regional colon cancer: 71% 5-year survival rate
  • Distant colon cancer: 14% 5-year survival rate

If the disease is identified quickly and strictly manifests in minimal malignant growths, the tumors can generally be excised, resulting in elevated survival rates.

We suggest receiving a colonoscopy upon turning 45 years of age to detect colorectal cancer early on. If colon cancer is in your family history, we suggest obtaining a colonoscopy at Washington Gastroenterology as soon as possible.

The treatment approach for colorectal cancer in Washington patients may vary based on the spread of the disease. While every case is unique, the greatest thing you can do for colorectal cancer is to prevent it entirely.


Colorectal cancer is a special kind of cancer because it is preventable. Colon cancer first shows up in the form of polyps. These polyps can be withdrawn, which decreases your risk of passing away from cancer by 90%. Your personal risk and prevention steps can be discussed with your gastroenterologist during a consultation for a colorectal cancer exam.

Stage 0 Colon Cancer Treatment

Stage 0 colon cancer is when the disease has not dispersed beyond the colon's inner lining. If the growth is minuscule enough, it can be easily eliminated with a colonoscope during a colonoscopy.

Stage I Colon Cancer Treatment

If the tumor is thoroughly eliminated during a colonoscopy with no cancer cells at the extremities, no additional treatment may be required. If the eliminated tumor does have cancerous tissues at the edges, further surgery may be needed to remove the remaining cancerous cells. For cancers not in tumor form, a partial colectomy may be necessary to remove the affected area of the colon and any nearby lymph nodes that are cancerous.

Stage II Colon Cancer Treatment

Generally, in stage 2, surgery is conducted to remove the segment of the colon or adjacent lymph nodes containing the cancer. In some cases, physicians will additionally advise adjuvant chemotherapy (chemo following surgery).

Stage III Colon Cancer Treatment

A partial colectomy, succeeded by adjuvant chemotherapy, is the standard treatment protocol for this stage of colon cancer.

Stage IV Colon Cancer Treatment

This phase of the disease normally indicates the disease has spread to other areas of the body. Surgery may be needed to remove cancer discovered in the colon and other organs. This is in addition to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy at this phase is typically administered before and after surgery.

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What causes colorectal cancer?

While the exact cause of colorectal cancer is not well understood, it arises when cells that have mutated in the inner wall of the colon or rectum proliferate beyond control, creating a tumor or growth. There are specific factors, however, that might amplify the risk of developing the disease. These can involve lifestyle factors (like tobacco and alcohol use), lack of physical activity, poor nutritional habits, and having a hereditary or familial predisposition.

How is colorectal cancer diagnosed?

Colorectal cancer is generally identified and diagnosed during a colon cancer test. A colonoscopy exam is the most common, accurate, and thorough screening option for detecting colon and rectal cancer. Other testing, such as flexible sigmoidoscopy, virtual colonoscopy, double-contrast barium enema, and fecal tests, might also be used when screening for colorectal cancer. Your Washington Gastroenterology provider can recommend the ideal method of screening and diagnosis for your unique needs.

How quickly does colorectal cancer develop?

Colon and rectal cancer grows slowly in most instances. It usually begins as a noncancerous growth in the colon or rectum that becomes cancerous over time. Experiencing symptoms with polyps is rare, which means that routine colon cancer screenings are critical to catching this cancer as early as possible.

Is colorectal cancer preventable?

Colon and rectal cancer can often be avoided with routine colon cancer screenings. As most colorectal cancers start as benign growths (polyps), having screenings per your doctor's recommendation can help lower your risk of this condition. Our GI specialists in Washington can provide more advice on how to lower your colorectal cancer risk when you visit our team for a consultation.

If you or a loved one suspects or has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, take comfort in knowing that skilled care is available. Washington Gastroenterology is a physician-led network of gastroenterologists, and every one of our board-certified specialists aims to place the health and safety of our patients above all else. To discover additional information about colorectal cancer and how it may be detected and prevented, or to get treatment for colorectal cancer in Washington, please reach out to one of our practice locations today.

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