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Colon Cancer Specialist

Colon and Rectal Clinic of Tampa Bay

Lourdes T Santiago , MD

Colorectal Surgery & General Surgery located in Clearwater, FL

Thanks to colon cancer screenings, rates of colon cancer are on the decline. However, it’s still the third most common cancer, when excluding skin cancer, in the United States. Lourdes Santiago, MD, is a board-certified general surgeon who specializes in colorectal surgery at the Colon and Rectal Clinic of Tampa Bay. Surgery is one of the primary treatments for colon cancer. To discuss surgical treatment for colon cancer, call the office in Clearwater, Florida, or schedule a consultation online today.

Colon Cancer Q&A

What is colon cancer?

Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that grows in the large intestine. The large intestine is the last section of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and includes the colon and rectum. 

This type of cancer most often starts as a benign colon polyp. When left untreated, the colon polyp may turn cancerous. Colon cancer screenings look for colon polyps and remove them before they turn cancerous.

What are the symptoms of colon cancer?

Colon cancer may not cause any symptoms during the early stages. And, many of the symptoms of colon cancer are similar to symptoms you might have with other health problems.

Common signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Change in stool appearance
  • Blood in stool
  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue

Though these symptoms are common with other gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease, they’re not symptoms you should ignore. If you have changes in abdominal health, schedule a visit with your primary care provider.

How is colon cancer diagnosed?

Doctors perform comprehensive exams to diagnose colon cancer. These exams include a physical examination, blood work, review of symptoms, and discussion of medical and family history. 

At the Colon and Rectal Clinic of Tampa Bay, Dr. Santiago performs a colonoscopy to diagnose colon cancer. During the procedure, she uses a colonoscope ― a small tube with a light and camera — to evaluate the lining of your large intestine.

If she finds colon polyps or any other suspicious tissue, she removes it and sends it to a lab for analysis. 

How is colon cancer treated?

Surgery is one of the primary treatments for colon cancer. Dr. Santiago is a skilled colorectal surgeon and uses the most advanced tools when performing surgery to remove colon cancer, including minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic colorectal surgery. 

The type of surgery you need may depend on the location, size, and stage of your cancer. She may remove a portion of the colon — partial colectomy — or the entire colon — total colectomy. 

You may need additional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation following your surgery.

To discuss surgery and colon cancer, call the Colon and Rectal Clinic of Tampa Bay or schedule an appointment online today.