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Colorectal Cancer Specialist

Avo Artinyan, MD, MS

Surgical Oncologist & Colorectal Surgeon located in Glendale, CA

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Avo Artinyan, MD, MS, of Academic Surgical Associates, offers preventive screening and treatment for colorectal cancer. If you’re over 45 or have risk factors that are associated with colorectal cancer, call the office in Glendale, California, or book an appointment online today.

Colorectal Cancer Q & A

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer happens when a malignant tumor develops in the tissues of your colon or rectum. Most cases of colorectal cancer start as small benign (noncancerous) growths called polyps. These polyps can turn into cancer over time.

Polyps may not produce any symptoms, so the only way to find out if you have them is to get a colonoscopy.

During a colonoscopy procedure, Dr. Artinyan can remove polyps from your intestinal wall. Even if these polyps are benign, having them removed may drastically reduce your risk of getting colorectal cancer in the future. 

What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

You might not experience any symptoms during the early stages of colorectal cancer, which is why preventive screening and early detection are so crucial. Colorectal cancer is much easier to treat when it’s found early. 

When symptoms do appear, they can vary, depending on the tumor size and location. You may have colorectal cancer if you experience the following:

  • Blood in your stool
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent or severe abdominal pain
  • The feeling you can’t empty your bowels completely

The most common symptoms are bleeding from the rectum and changes in bowel habits such as constipation and thinning of stools. 

What are risk factors for colorectal cancer?

Your chances of getting most forms of cancer, including colorectal cancer, increases as you age. Other risk factors for colorectal cancer include:

  • Personal or family history of colorectal cancers
  • Hereditary/genetic colorectal cancer syndromes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis/Crohn’s disease)
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • High-fat diet with processed meats
  • Diabetes
  • Ethnic and racial background

Colorectal cancer affects both men and women equally and is more common in individuals over 50 years old. However, colorectal cancer is becoming more common in younger individuals.

How often should I be screened for colorectal cancer?

If you’re over 45 and at normal risk of colorectal cancer, meaning you don’t have any of the above risk factors, you should get a colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer once every 10 years. If you’re at high risk, you may need earlier or more frequent screenings.

Dr. Artinyan can review your medical history and recommend a preventive screening schedule that fits your needs.

How is colorectal cancer treated?

Colon and rectal cancer most often require surgery to remove the segment of the large intestine with cancer and the nearby lymph nodes. Dr. Artinyan will almost always perform surgery using minimally invasively laparoscopic or robotic techniques. 

Depending on the stage of your cancer or the location of your tumor in the rectum, Dr. Artinyan may recommend post-operative chemotherapy or preoperative chemotherapy and radiation. 

To learn more about your risk of colorectal cancer or to schedule a colonoscopy, call the office of Avo Artinyan, MD, MS, or book an appointment online today.