Medical Records Requests

Arizona Digestive Health outsources our release of information process to HealthMark Group. To follow up on the status of your medical record request, you may contact HealthMark Group directly at 800-659-4035 or status@healthmark-group.com.

HealthMark Group fulfills all patient requests for personal copies at no charge to the patient. A complimentary copy of your record will be made available through HealthMark Group’s website, www.medrelease.com/360. First time users are required to register for an account before accessing the website.

You may also submit a request electronically to HealthMark Group by registering for an account at www.medrelease.com/360. Once logged in, you may select Submit Request from the menu options and enter all required fields to submit an authorization to HealthMark Group directly. HealthMark Group will process your medical record request and provide notification via mail or email once complete. A complimentary copy of your record will be made available for you to download through HealthMark Group’s MedRelease 360 website.

Do Your Know the Risks, Signs, and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

Do Your Know the Risks, Signs, and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

Summary: Knowing the signs, symptoms, and risks of colorectal cancer, and your family’s history of this disease, can help you better manage your GI health.

 

“You have cancer” is something no one wishes to hear. Regardless of whether the diagnosis concerns you, a close friend, or a member of your family, it usually causes feelings of fear and significant concern. At Arizona Digestive Health, however, we believe that being mindful of the risks can help you better manner a cancer diagnosis. Becoming familiar with the symptoms, indications, and your family’s history of colorectal cancer can help to catch the disease in the early stages and provide you with more options to consider when it comes to treatment.

How is colorectal cancer detected?

Colorectal cancer develops in the colon (large intestine) or rectum. Often referred to as “colon cancer” or “rectal cancer,” this disease leads cells in the large intestine or rectum to multiply out of control. Colorectal cancer can generally be treated, so our specialists recommend that people 45 years of age and older have a routine colon cancer screening in Phoenix, AZ to decrease their chances of having this disease go undetected. Additionally, if you have had a close relative with colon cancer or if you have been diagnosed with a digestive condition, like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, it is essential to start screening for colon cancer as soon as you turn 45.

Signs and symptoms for improved colon cancer awareness

Aside from recommending that you schedule colorectal cancer screenings periodically, we also recommend learning about the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer. Although they might not be apparent initially, knowing these indications may help to detect the cancer in the initial stages.

Typical signs and symptoms of colon cancer might include the following:

  • A change in your bowel movements or bowel habits
  • Blood in your stool
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Persistent cramps, aches, or abdominal pains
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Difficulty emptying bowels

Though these signs or symptoms might seem indistinct, when repetitive, it is ideal to reserve an appointment at Arizona Digestive Health so one of our experienced GI doctors can learn more about the condition. Our Phoenix, AZ gastroenterologists prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health.

Can I develop colon or rectal cancer if someone in my family has it?

Should you have a relative or family member that has been diagnosed with colon and rectal cancer, it is important to know that you could have an elevated chance of developing the disease. You can use this information to your benefit and make informed choices about your health.

It is essential that when meeting with a gastroenterologist, you relay as much of your family medical history as you can. During your consultation, it is wise to provide details about the health history of your immediate family members, including your father, mother, sisters, and brothers, and your father and mother’s sides of the family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and more). You should provide the form of cancer your relative had, when it was discovered, and if the cancer was the reason for death. Providing these details can help our experts curate the best preventive treatment plan for your needs.

At Arizona Digestive Health, we might recommend that when you have an immediate family member who has had colon cancer, you start getting colonoscopies around the age of 30. When the family member is not an immediate family member, we suggest colorectal cancer screenings beginning around 45 years of age.

Get screened for colorectal cancer in Phoenix, AZ

Though being diagnosed with cancer is always frightening, having knowledge of signs, symptoms, and risk factors can help you understand your chances of colon cancer and receive a diagnosis as early as possible. At Arizona Digestive Health, we are here for you and ready to help screen for and detect colorectal cancer. To connect with a gastrointestinal doctor in Phoenix, AZ, contact our team to schedule a consultation.

Are Colonoscopies the Gold Standard for Detecting Colon and Rectal Cancer?

Are Colonoscopies the Gold Standard for Detecting Colon and Rectal Cancer?

Summary: A colonoscopy is regarded as the gold standard for catching and preventing colorectal cancer over other types of tests, like home screenings.

 

Roughly 50,000 people in the United States pass away from colon and rectal cancer annually. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined. Luckily, it is generally treatable and, when discovered early, the prognosis can be extremely good.

The Food and Drug Administration has passed three kinds of home-based tests for colon and rectal cancer. These tests operate by finding abnormal deviations in the feces, such as bleeding or DNA indicators for colorectal cancer. Although the comparative simplicity of these exams might make them appear like an ideal alternative, it is critical to understand that the colonoscopy continues to be the best option for the diagnosis and prevention of colon and rectal cancer. If you are in the Phoenix, AZ area, a gastroenterologist who can provide a colon cancer screening is accessible at an Arizona Digestive Health facility near you.

Why undergo a colon cancer screening?

Rapid identification is critical to beating colon and rectal cancer. When cancer is identified in the rectum or colon (large intestine) before it has time to metastasize, the five-year chance of survival is close to 90%. Although different approaches of testing for colon and rectal cancer are available, none have proven to be as reliable and as precise as the colonoscopy screening. The best weapons in the fight against colorectal cancer are colorectal cancer knowledge and regular colonoscopies.

What can I expect with a colonoscopy?

To begin your procedure, your GI specialist will provide you with some preparatory instructions to make sure your bowel is empty during the screening. These instructions may contain:

  • Taking a laxative: Your GI physician may offer you a laxative or “bowel prep” to empty your bowels either the evening prior to or the day of your screening.
  • Regulating medications: If you take certain medications for blood pressure, heart problems, or diabetes, then you might need to modify your dosage or stop taking them temporarily.
  • Fasting: You may be instructed to abstain from solid food and ingest only clear liquids for a set period of time before your exam.

Throughout the procedure, you will possibly be provided a mild form of sedative to help you remain relaxed and then instructed to lie on your side. A narrow, flexible scope with a video camera on the end will be fed into your large intestine (colon) through your rectum. This scope, or colonoscope, is long enough to extend throughout your whole large intestine. Your colonoscopy doctor will examine the live feed from the colonoscope’s camera on a special monitor and look for any irregularities. In the event a growth (polyp) or any other abnormal area is detected, special instruments can be utilized through the scope to capture tissue samples for biopsy evaluation.

When should I receive a colonoscopy screening?

Per the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), adults should schedule their first colonoscopy screening at 45 years of age and then once every ten years if there is an average risk for the disease. When an increased chance of having colorectal cancer exists, our gastroenterologists may suggest a colonoscopy once every 3 – 5 years. Common colorectal cancer risk factors include:

  • Family history of colon cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Personal history of multiple polyps, large polyps, or colon cancer
  • GI conditions, such as Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

A GI doctor might also recommend a colonoscopy exam when any of the following signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer are present:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent constipation
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Blood in your stool

Phoenix, AZ residents who are displaying these signs are urged to contact Arizona Digestive Health to meet with a gastroenterologist right away.

Why are colonoscopies the gold standard for colorectal cancer screenings?

While a few home-based screening tests have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, a colonoscopy remains the most effective procedure for detecting colon and rectal cancer. In addition, large or potentially malignant polyps can be excised through a colonoscopy which minimizes the need for further treatments. An individual who tests positive on a home-based screening kit will still need to schedule a colonoscopy to confirm those results and have any cancerous or precancerous polyps removed.

Need a colonoscopy in Phoenix, AZ?

For adults age 45 and older, having periodic colon and rectal cancer screenings is a central part of maintaining your health. A colonoscopy exam at Arizona Digestive Health can effectively diagnose and prevent colon and rectal cancer, providing you a good fighting chance if the cancer is identified early on and comfort if you are cancer-free. To schedule a colonoscopy in Phoenix, AZ, or for more information about protecting your health against colorectal cancer, please reach out to our gastroenterology practice today.

Colorectal Cancer Facts and Statistics

Colorectal Cancer Facts and Statistics

Summary: Colon and rectal cancer is one of the foremost reasons for cancer deaths, but it’s also one of the most detectable cancers through routine screenings.

 

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among adults, but it is also among the most identifiable and, in numerous scenarios, preventable cancers through periodic screenings. With next month designated as colon cancer awareness month, Arizona Digestive Health aims to provide colon and rectal cancer facts and statistics that can help you preserve your health and wellness.

Arizona Digestive Health offers specialized care for gastrointestinal (GI) health and provides support for patients and their loved ones as they undergo diagnosis and treatment for colorectal cancer. If you’re interested in learning more about our physician-led network of gastroenterologists and colonoscopy doctors near you, contact our GI practice in Phoenix, AZ today.

What is colon and rectal cancer?

Colon and rectal cancer occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of cells that starts in either the colon (large intestine) or the rectum, and is sometimes called bowel cancer or colon cancer. The disease is extremely common, as 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will receive a colon cancer diagnosis at some point during their lifetime. Approximately 150,000 new cases of colon cancer were detected in 2021, as indicated by the American Cancer Society.

Symptoms of colon and rectal cancer

A precancerous polyp (growth) in the colon or rectum could take around ten years to develop into cancer. In its initial stages, colon cancer might not exhibit any obvious symptoms or warning signs. When a person is exhibiting indications of colorectal cancer, they may report:

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Bloody stools
  • A change in bowel habits

In the event you or someone you know notices any of these colon cancer symptoms, get in touch with Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ promptly to schedule a consultation.

What are risk factors for colorectal cancer?

While the distinct reason behind colorectal cancer isn’t known, there are several factors that seem to place some patients at an elevated risk for developing the disease. These risk factors are:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are at higher risk of developing colon or rectal cancer.
  • Age: While colon cancer can affect children and young adults, approximately 88% of new diagnoses occur in patients who are over 50 years of age. However, in recent years, there has been a trend in the direction of earlier diagnosis. This trend has altered the recommended age for routine colon cancer screening to 45.
  • Family history of colon cancer: Roughly 25 – 30% of people who develop colon cancer have a relative who also has been diagnosed with the disease.

How is colon and rectal cancer diagnosed?

Cancer of the colon or rectum is most likely to be identified and diagnosed with a cancer screening, such as a colonoscopy. Although colorectal cancer is typically highly treatable if identified early, roughly a third of U.S. adults are not up to date on their colorectal cancer screenings. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 68% of deaths resulting from colon cancer could be prevented if all those eligible received routine colonoscopy screenings.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends you undergo your initial colonoscopy at age 45 years of age if you have an average risk. For a colorectal cancer screening in Phoenix, AZ, contact Arizona Digestive Health.

Learn more about colorectal cancer screenings in Phoenix, AZ

If diagnosed initial stages, the prognosis for colon and rectal cancer is generally very favorable. Colorectal cancer that has not developed past the colon or rectum can often be successfully treated with a five-year rate of survival of about 90%. To learn more about colon cancer in Phoenix, AZ, please reach out to our team today. The board-certified gastroenterology specialists at your local Arizona Digestive Health location look forward to helping you preserve your health.