Should You Get a Second Opinion for Colon Cancer?

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Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a deadly yet treatable form of cancer that affects the colon. Unfortunately, colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The good news is that colon cancer can be diagnosed and treated, often with promising results.

When colon cancer is diagnosed and a treatment plan is put in place, it’s important to consider all of the options available. A misdiagnosis or treatment plan that doesn’t take into account all of the potential options can leave colon cancer patients at risk. Not only can this impact the treatment outcomes, but it can also affect their overall quality of life, their finances, and more.

Colon Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment

Colon cancer develops over time, often without any noticeable symptoms. It starts with small, noncancerous colon polyps that can eventually become cancerous if left untreated. Men are more likely to develop colon cancer than women, and people over 50 are more at risk. However, colon cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. There is evidence that colon cancer is becoming more common among younger adults, which makes screenings and colon cancer second opinions even more important.

Common colon cancer symptoms include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • A change in bowel habits like diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool
  • Stomach pain, cramps, or discomfort
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue

Treatment for colon cancer typically includes surgery to remove the affected area as well as auxiliary therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Depending on the stage of colon cancer, additional treatment options may be available.

Is Colon Cancer Often Misdiagnosed?

Colon cancer is often misdiagnosed or overlooked, especially in younger patients. Colon cancer is often diagnosed at a later stage in younger adults and can cause more aggressive disease. Additionally, colon cancer can often be confused with other conditions, such as hemorrhoids or irritable bowel syndrome. For this reason, colon cancer second opinions are incredibly important to ensure that colon cancer is properly diagnosed and treated.

The Benefits of Colon Cancer Second Opinions

Misdiagnosis is a major concern with colon cancer because of its ability to progress quickly. Recent data shows that 90% of those who were treated for early-stage colon cancer were alive five years after their diagnosis. This is contrasted with a five-year survival rate of 17% for those whose cancer spread to distant organs or lymph nodes by the time of diagnosis.

If you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer, getting a colon cancer second opinion is the best way to move forward with confidence. There is no downside to the peace of mind that comes from having a world-class specialist review your case and provide their expert opinion. Instead, colon cancer second opinions can provide you with more information about your diagnosis, treatment options, and prognosis. This, in turn, can help you make the best decisions for your health and provide you with the answers you need to put your mind at ease.

Virtual Second Opinions on Colon Cancer from The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic’s specialists are continually seeking to improve colon cancer care through weekly tumor board meetings to review cases and discuss multidisciplinary clinical management decisions like treatments and experimental therapies. Our rectal cancer program has earned a three-year accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC).

Recommendations you can trust and an opportunity to discuss colon cancer treatment options—it’s all possible with virtual colon cancer second opinions from The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic.

Register now to get started.