Women’s Health and Colorectal Cancer Risk

Women’s Health and Colorectal Cancer Risk

Summary: Colorectal cancer begins in the large intestine. Getting routine colonoscopies can allow for an early diagnosis and improve a patient’s prognosis.


After cancer of the breast, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women. Making up the majority of the large intestine, the colon collects water, vitamins, and minerals from remnants of food that have migrated through the small intestine. The last segment of the large intestine is called the rectum. In some cases, polyps (small growths) form in the inner lining of the colon or rectum. These polyps generally carry little to no symptoms, although intestinal growths can transition into colon or rectal cancer. Since they are highly similar, colon and rectal cancer are frequently classified together.

Periodic colon cancer screenings can detect signs of colon and rectal cancer early on and significantly enhance a person’s health prognosis. You can book a colonoscopy procedure and other forms of colorectal cancer screenings at Arizona Digestive Health. Partner with our gastrointestinal (GI) specialists in Phoenix, AZ to guard against colorectal cancer and other gastric diseases.

Signs and symptoms of colon and rectal cancer

Colorectal cancer starts in the large intestine or rectum. Many individuals who have colon or rectal cancer will exhibit no symptoms in the beginning stages. The individuals who do exhibit signs or symptoms could notice the following:

  • Ongoing abdominal cramping or pain
  • A difference in bowel habits
  • Blood present in stool or rectal bleeding
  • Unintentional loss of weight

In the event that you or a loved one is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, reach out to Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ right away to speak with a gastroenterologist.

If a malignant polyp invades into the outside wall of the large bowel, it can gain access to the circulatory or lymph system and migrate to additional areas of the body. Individuals whose colon or rectal cancer has metastasized outside of the large bowel have significantly smaller odds of survival than individuals whose cancer stays localized, making early diagnosis and medical intervention vital.

What are common colon and rectal cancer risk factors?

While any individual can develop colon or rectal cancer, a number of conditions might put some people at an elevated risk. Common risk factors for colon cancer are as follows:

  • A family history of colon cancer
  • Use of tobacco products
  • Use of alcohol
  • Being overweight
  • Being over 50
  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease

People who have such risks should receive periodic screenings for colon or rectal cancer, such as with routine colonoscopies.

How is colon or rectal cancer detected?

Various approaches to colon cancer screening may be conducted for patients at risk of developing the condition. Such screening processes include blood tests, fecal analysis, and various forms of screening tests. To perform a colonoscopy a GI specialist places an elongated device containing a camera into the large intestine to screen for the presence of abnormalities, like polyps in the colon. If polyps are discovered during the conduction of a colonoscopy, they can be excised at the time of the procedure and later biopsied for signs of cancer. When colon cancer has been diagnosed, further evaluations can be carried out to ascertain if the cancer has spread and help determine which treatment options might offer the ideal course of care.

In what way is colon or rectal cancer treated?

Treatment for colon cancer will be determined based on the stage, size, and location of the cancer and might include surgery to remove, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy. Polyps in the colon might take around 10 –15 years to develop into cancer, which means when a polyp is found in the early stages, it can commonly be excised before it even becomes cancerous. Among people who have localized colon cancer and get treatment, the five-year survival rate is approximately 90%. A routine colonoscopy can save a patient’s life; however, around one-third of adults in the country do not maintain periodic screenings for colon cancer.

Schedule a colorectal cancer screening in Phoenix, AZ

Though it is the second-highest cause of cancer-related deaths among women, colorectal cancer is treatable when caught early on and simple to identify through a periodic colonoscopy. Patients who are over the age of 50 or who have other medical concerns that raise their risk of colorectal cancer should set up a routine colonoscopy procedure. Arizona Digestive Health uses the most modern technology and techniques to support gastrointestinal health, and our team of experts operates on a patient-centered mentality. To learn more surrounding colon and rectal cancer or any additional digestive health concern, get in touch with Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ today.

Breast Cancer Awareness: The Importance of Routine Screenings

Breast Cancer Awareness: The Importance of Routine Screenings

Summary: Breast cancer is a health issue impacting many people in the United States. It’s essential to undergo routine screenings for early diagnosis and care.


Breast cancer is a disease that impacts a significant number of people each year in the United States. Since October is dedicated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now is a great time to become more educated on the causes of this life-threatening cancer, as well as the risk factors and the importance of regular breast cancer screenings.

Much like all types of cancer, breast cancer results when aggregates of cells start to divide irregularly and in excess, rather than progressing through their typical biological process and life cycle. Many times, breast cancer arises in the milk-yielding lobules when genetic material in these cells begins to mutate. When these modified cells arise more rapidly than the body can dispose of them, a tumor develops.

Tumors can develop in the lobules of the breast, as well as in the fatty tissue surrounding and protecting the milk-producing structures. In rare instances, breast cancers can even metastasize to additional structures around the body, including the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. When this occurs, the gastroenterologists at Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ collaborate with other health care experts to provide care for cancers that spread to impact the digestive tissues. Getting a breast cancer diagnosis as early as possible is integral to safeguarding your general health.

What are the risk factors for breast cancer?

Breast cancer is among the most common types of cancer in women, as one out of every eight women will develop the disease during their lives. It is estimated that that greater than 280,000 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in 2021, and nearly 50,000 women will be diagnosed with noninvasive carcinoma in situ breast cancer.

The majority of women who get breast cancer are over the age of 55, but breast cancer is still among the top causes of mortality among women between the ages of 35 and 55. Non-Hispanic African American women and non-Hispanic white women are at the greatest risk for cancer of the breast, while Latina women and African American women have a higher probability of dying due to the disease.

Genetic factors also pose an elevated chance of developing breast cancer. Patients with family members who have had breast cancer are more apt to experience the condition over the course of their lives. Though hereditary factors, being female, and being of senior age can not be changed, there are many things that a person can do to reduce the risk of or ward off breast cancer development.

Some other breast cancer risk factors are:

  • Being overweight
  • Breastfeeding for less than a year
  • Alcohol use
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
  • Smoking
  • Radiation therapy before age 30
  • Lack of exercise
  • Chemical contraception and other forms of hormone intake
  • Inadequate amounts of vitamin D
  • Becoming pregnant after age 30

Changing things in your lifestyle and regularly receiving checkups can help minimize your risk of developing breast cancer, particularly if any of the above factors apply to you.

What are the various types of breast cancer?

Cancer of the breast is identified as either malignant (invasive) or noninvasive carcinoma in situ. Noninvasive cancers are lumps of cells that more or less grow in one place, splitting haphazardly but not mutating outside of their principal tasks in other ways. They may be removed via surgery and are not as likely to reform.

Malignant types of tumors are more injurious, as they expand branches of cells into the neighboring tissues. In some cases, they may break off and move to additional tissues throughout the body. Malignant cancers could also create and release damaging hormones and other substances that adversely impact the body.

The varying classifications of breast cancer include:

  • Phyllodes tumors: These non-malignant types of tumors start in connective tissue fibers.
  • Paget disease of the nipple: This is a form of breast cancer that starts in the areola or nipple.
  • Angiosarcoma: This less common variation of tumor begins in lymph vessels, blood vessels, or the skin.
  • Ductal carcinoma: Starting in the milk ducts, ductal carcinoma can be invasive, spreading beyond the mild duct and impacting other portions of the breast. This form of cancer can also be in situ, which means it stays in the milk ducts. In the event they are detected early enough, in situ cancers are typically easy to address, although they are at risk of becoming malignant without treatment. Sadly, about 80% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed as invasive ductal carcinomas.
  • Lobular carcinoma: This form of breast cancer begins in the glands that produce milk, or lobules. When this type of carcinoma is in situ, it is considered the least serious type of breast tumor since it is unlikely to spread. Although, it should still be addressed as recommended by a doctor given that its existence may signify the chance of additional tumor development over time. When lobular carcinomas are invasive, they are especially challenging to diagnose and typically more problematic.

What is a breast cancer screening?

The optimal way to reduce the risk of break cancer, besides living a healthy and active life, is to receive screenings for breast cancer regularly. These screenings commonly include a clinical assessment along with a mammogram, or radiographic imaging of the breast tissue conducted to identify areas of dense tissue within the breast. Regular breast exams are exceptionally vital for catching breast cancer in the early stages and facilitating the greatest possible treatment results. Individuals can also carry out breast self-exams and should do so on a regular basis. Your doctor can provide instructions on how to perform this properly.

Schedule your breast cancer screening

The physicians at Arizona Digestive Health are proud to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month and hope to motivate patients in Phoenix, AZ to help protect their overall health by having regular screenings for breast cancer. To learn about the ideal options for diagnosing the condition and the best way to protect your health, it is crucial to visit a qualified medical professional for routine breast cancer screenings and care.