What Are the Risk Factors, Signs, and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?


Being diagnosed with cancer is a health concern no one wants to experience. Whether the news is for you, a close friend, or a relative, it understandably imparts feelings of fear and dread. At GastroArkansas, we feel that understanding the risks of the disease can allow you to manage such a diagnosis more effectively. Knowing the symptoms, indications, and any family history of colon and rectal cancer can help you detect the disease in the early stages and provide you with more options for treatment and care.

How is colon and rectal cancer identified?

Sometimes referred to as “bowel cancer” or “colon and rectal cancer,” colorectal cancer occurs in the colon (large intestine) or rectum. This condition causes the cells in the colon or rectum to multiply out of control. Colorectal cancer is generally treatable, so our specialists advise that people 45 and older undergo regular screenings and offer colonoscopies in Little Rock, AR to reduce the chance of this disease going unnoticed. Additionally, if you have a family member with colon or rectal cancer or if you have been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal condition, like ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, it is essential to start having screenings for colon cancer at age 45.

Signs and symptoms for better colon and rectal cancer awareness

Aside from encouraging you to schedule colorectal cancer screenings periodically, we also suggest that you gain an awareness of colorectal cancer signs and symptoms. Though the indications may not be obvious in the beginning, becoming familiar with these signs and symptoms might help to detect the cancer in the initial stages.

Typical signs and symptoms of colon cancer could include:

  • Changes in bowel habits or bowel movements

  • Blood in your stool

  • Loose stools or difficult bowel movements

  • Persistent cramps, aches, or abdominal pains

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Incomplete bowel movements

Even though these symptoms or signs might seem minor, if recurrent, it is ideal to reserve a consultation at GastroArkansas so a GI specialist can learn more about your signs and symptoms. Our Little Rock, AR gastroenterologists would rather err on the side of caution as it relates to your health.

Will I develop colon cancer if a person in my family has it?

If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with colon and rectal cancer, you should be aware that you might have an elevated risk of such a diagnosis. We encourage you to use this information to your benefit and make informed decisions about when to get colorectal cancer screenings.

We advise that when speaking with your gastrointestinal specialist, you offer as much of your family medical history as possible. During your consultation, it is wise to provide details about the health history of your mother, father, brothers, and sisters, as well as your mother and father’s sides of the family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and more). If possible, discuss the precise type of cancer your loved one had, when it was detected, and if the cancer resulted in death. Providing this information can help our doctors create the best possible preventive plan for your needs.

At GastroArkansas, our specialists may suggest that if you have an immediate family member who has had colon cancer, you undergo a colonoscopy screening around 30 years of age. When the relative is not an immediate family member, we advise colon and rectal cancer screenings beginning at age 45.

Get screened for colon and rectal cancer in Little Rock, AR

Though a cancer diagnosis is always alarming, being familiar with the signs, symptoms, and your personal risks can help you better understand your chances of getting colorectal cancer and being diagnosed early on. At GastroArkansas, our team is ready to help you screen for and detect colorectal cancer. To connect with a gastrointestinal specialist in Little Rock, AR, contact our office for a consultation.