Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for: October, 2021

Summary: Breast cancer is a concerning health condition affecting many in the U.S. It's important to undergo routine screenings to diagnose the disease early.

 

Cancer of the breast is a health problem that affects a significant number of individuals yearly throughout the U.S. With October as the official Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there's no better time than now to learn more about the risk factors of this health condition, along with preventive measures and treatment options.
Like all forms of cancer, breast cancer is caused when clusters of cells begin dividing erratically and exceedingly, rather than going through their usual life cycles and processes. Breast cancer often starts in the milk-generating ducts when DNA in these cells starts to mutate. If mutated cells develop more rapidly than the body can get rid of them, the mass of cells forms a tumor.
Tumors in the breast can develop in many areas of glandular tissue, or even in the fatty breast tissue that encompasses and shields the milk-secreting structures of the breast. In some rare cases, cancer of the breast can even metastasize to additional regions around the body, including the gastrointestinal system. Under such circumstances, the specialists at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates collaborate with other healthcare practitioners in Hinsdale, IL to provide care for cancer that metastasizes to the digestive system. Obtaining an early breast cancer diagnosis is vital to protecting your general health and wellness. 

What are common breast cancer risk factors?

Cancer of the breast is among the most prevalent cancers impacting women. One out of every eight women will experience the condition at some point in their lives. It's estimated that over 280,000 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in 2021, and around 50,000 women will be diagnosed with noninvasive carcinoma in situ breast cancer.
The majority of women diagnosed with cancer of the breast are over 55; however, breast cancer ranks among the main causes of mortality among women between the ages of 35 and 55. NonHispanic white women and non-Hispanic African American women have the highest risk for breast cancer, although Latina women and African American women have a higher probability of dying from this form of cancer.
Genetic factors also increase the chance of being diagnosed with the disease. Patients with relatives who have had cancer of the breast are more likely to experience the condition during 
their lives. Though being female, of older age, or hereditary factors can’t be changed, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk or help prevent the development of breast cancer.

Various other breast cancer risk factors include:

 

  • Breastfeeding for under a year
  • Poor diet 
  • Chemical contraception and other forms of hormone intake
  • Lack of exercise 
  • Tobacco use 
  • Becoming pregnant over the age of 30
  • Radiation therapy before age 30
  • Low levels of vitamin D
  • Alcohol use
  • Being overweight
  • Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Making changes to your lifestyle while regularly receiving screenings can help minimize your risk of getting breast cancer, especially if any of the above factors apply to you. 

What should I know about the different types of breast cancer?

Cancer of the breast is diagnosed as noninvasive carcinoma in situ or malignant (invasive) cancer. Noninvasive cancers are groupings of cells that grow more or less in one location, splitting irregularly but not becoming modified outside of their primary functions in other ways. They can commonly be removed via a surgical process and carry a lower probability of returning.
Invasive breast cancers are more injurious since they spread threads of cells into the nearby area, occasionally even breaking off bits of themselves and circulating to other regions throughout the body. Malignant tumors can also create and emanate harmful hormones and other factors that unfavorably impact bodily tissues.

The general categories of breast cancer include: 

  •  Lobular carcinoma: Lobular carcinoma begins in the milk-producing glands (lobules). When this kind of tumor is in situ, it's the least dangerous form of breast tumor since it's not likely to branch out. However, it should still be cared for as recommended by a doctor, as its existence can point to the possibility of further tumor development as time goes on. If lobular carcinomas are diagnosed as invasive, they're generally more concerning and especially challenging to diagnose.
  • Paget disease of the nipple: This is a type of breast cancer that starts in the nipple or the areola area of the breast.
  •  Phyllodes tumors: These are non-malignant tumors that begin in connective tissue fibers. 
  •  Ductal carcinoma: This type of cancer originates in milk ducts. It can be invasive, spreading beyond the mild duct and invading other tissues of the breast, or in situ, which means it stays in the milk ducts. In the event that it's caught in the very early stage, in situ cancers are relatively easy to address, but they might become malignant if without proper treatment. Unfortunately, around 80% of breast cancers involve invasive ductal carcinomas.
  • Angiosarcoma: A rare type of cancer, angiosarcoma begins in the skin, blood vessels, or lymph vessels.

What does a breast cancer screening include?

The most effective way to reduce the risk of break cancer, along with living an active, healthy lifestyle, is to schedule screenings for breast cancer on a regular basis. These screenings often include a clinical examination of the breast tissue in addition to a mammogram, or radiographic imaging of the breast conducted to check for excessively dense breast tissue. Regular breast exams are very critical for identifying breast carcinomas in the early stages and allowing for the greatest possible health outcomes. Patients can also carry out self-breast cancer exams and should do so on a routine basis. A physician can provide instructions on how to perform selfexams properly. 

Book your breast cancer screening

The doctors at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month and urge people in Hinsdale, IL to help preserve their overall health by having regular screenings for breast cancer. To determine the ideal procedures for diagnosing breast cancer and the best way to preserve your health, it’s recommended to undergo routine breast cancer screenings conducted by a skilled physician.

 

 


 

Summary: Colon and rectal cancer arises in the large intestine. Receiving routine colonoscopies can allow for early detection and an improved health prognosis.

 
Behind cancer of the breast, colorectal cancer is the second cause of cancer-related fatalities among women. The colon encompasses the majority of the digestive tract and draws water and remaining nutrients from remnants of food that has passed through the small intestine. The final segment of the large intestine is referred to as the rectum. In some cases, polyps, or small growths of cells, arise in the innermost surface of the colon or rectum. Such polyps generally present very few symptoms if any; however, intestinal growths can progress into colon or rectal cancer. Given that they are highly similar, colon and rectal cancer are generally categorized in the same group. Routine colon and rectal cancer screenings can catch evidence of colon cancer early and considerably boost a person's health forecast. You can schedule a colonoscopy and other forms of colon and rectal cancer screenings at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates. For a knowledgeable gastrointestinal (GI) doctor in Hinsdale, IL you can count on, consult our team to protect against colorectal cancer and other digestive issues.
 

Are there symptoms of colon and rectal cancer?

 
Colon cancer begins in the colon or rectum. Many people with colon or rectal cancer will show no symptoms in the early stages. The people who do experience symptoms could notice the following:
 
  • Ongoing abdominal cramps or discomfort
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Unexplained weight loss
  •  Blood in stool or rectal bleeding
 
In the event that you or a family member experience any of these symptoms, get in touch with Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates as soon as possible to visit with a digestive health specialist. If a cancerous polyp extends into the outside wall of the colon or rectum, it can infiltrate the lymph system or blood vessels and spread to additional portions of the body. Patients whose colon or rectal cancer spreads beyond the large intestine have substantially decreased rates of survival than patients whose cancer remains localized. As such, early identification and medical care are imperative.

 

What are common colon and rectal cancer risk factors?

 
Even though any patient can get colorectal cancer, a few factors may put some at an elevated risk. Risk factors for colorectal cancer are:
 
  • Smoking
  • Having a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Obesity
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Being over 50
 
Individuals having such factors or those with increased risk should get routine colorectal cancer screenings, such as colonoscopy procedures.
 

How is cancer of the colon or rectum diagnosed?

 
A variety of procedures for colon cancer screening are available to individuals at risk of developing colorectal cancer. These screening methods include fecal analysis, blood tests, and colonoscopy. To conduct a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist places a flexible device housing a small camera into the large bowel to look for concerns, including growths in the colon. When colon polyps are discovered during a colonoscopy, they can often be removed at the time of the procedure and analyzed for signs of cancer. After colorectal cancer has been diagnosed, more involved testing can be carried out to establish if the cancer has spread and the options that might be the most effective in addressing it.
 

How is colon or rectal cancer treated?

 
The chosen treatment for colon cancer will be decided according to the location, stage, and size of the cancer and could include cancer removal surgery, radiation treatment, or chemotherapy. Colon polyps might take up to 10 or 15 years to turn into cancer. When a growth is diagnosed early, it can frequently be removed before it even transitions into cancer. For individuals who have localized colorectal cancer and receive proper medical treatment, the five-year chance of survival is approximately 90%. Undergoing a routine colonoscopy can save your life, but about 30% of adults in the country are not up to date on their screenings for colon cancer.
 

Set up a colonoscopy in Hinsdale, IL 

 
As the second-greatest cause of death from cancer among women, colorectal cancer is a serious health concern. However, the condition is generally treatable and easily detectable through a routine colonoscopy procedure. People older than 50 or who are experiencing conditions that heighten their risk of colon cancer should schedule regular colonoscopy screenings. Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates utilizes the most cutting-edge technology and processes to enhance digestive health, and our physician-led network works with a patient-centric mentality. To find out additional information concerning colon and rectal cancer or other GI conditions, contact our GI office in Hinsdale, IL. 

 

Summary: Colonoscopies offer the best defense for detecting and protecting against colon cancer and other GI issues. Discover when to get your first screening.

Among the best methods of guarding against or identifying colon or rectal cancer early on is receiving periodic colorectal screenings. However, over 50% of adults who are eligible have not completed their first colonoscopy screening. The American Cancer Society (ACS) advises that individuals who have an average risk of getting colorectal cancer start receiving routine colonoscopy screenings at age 45. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of individuals throughout the U.S. are not undergoing colorectal cancer screening tests as recommended, reducing the opportunity for detecting the condition early. To discover whether you are eligible for an initial colonoscopy test, reach out to the team at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates to book an appointment. Our exceptionally trained digestive health physicians regularly provide colonoscopies for Hinsdale, IL individuals. 

What should I know about having a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy test is a type of colon cancer assessment that is conducted with a thin, flexible device containing a small camera. It is placed into the rectum and on into the colon by a Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates GI specialist to check for growths (polyps) or other abnormal tissue that may have developed. In the event abnormal tissues are found, they can be removed at the time of the procedure and tested for cancer. Patients receive a rapid-acting, safe sedation medication prior to the colonoscopy to allow them to undergo the process without discomfort.

What to expect following a colonoscopy screening

After your first colonoscopy is complete and sedation begins to dissipate, our Hinsdale, IL medical staff will explain any discoveries to you. If we do identify any concern that calls for a more extensive investigation, your GI specialist will develop a treatment approach personalized for your medical needs. We strongly suggest that you have someone close to you escort you home following your procedure. When the effects of the sedative medication have passed, you should be able to resume your regular routine and diet within a day. At times, people notice minor side effects, like abdominal cramps, gassiness, and bloating, for several days. In the event you are affected by extreme discomfort, bleeding, or fever, you should seek immediate medical care.

How often should people have colonoscopy screenings?

It is recommended that those having an average chance of getting colon or rectal cancer start screenings when they are 45. Additional colonoscopy assessment should take place every ten years up through age 75. After age 75, each person should discuss their doctor to determine screening intervals that best suit their healthcare requirements. 

Why schedule regular colorectal screenings?

Though a colonoscopy screening can allow for the discovery of initial colorectal cancer, the process can also detect possible reasons behind other gastric problems, including long-term changes in bowel habits (loose stools and/or constipation), anemia and bleeding, hemorrhoids, causes of abdominal/anorectal pain, and sudden unexplained weight loss. The exceptionally trained GI specialists at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates use the most up-to-date techniques and processes to diagnose and address many diseases of the digestive system.

Where can I set up my first colonoscopy in Hinsdale, IL?

Regular colorectal cancer screenings are the recommended option for discovering this serious GI concern. If you are over the age of 45 with an average risk of colon cancer, we recommend that you arrange for your first colonoscopy screening at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates as soon as you can. Reach out to our team today for a colonoscopy consultation with one of our Hinsdale, IL digestive health specialists.


Summary: Hemorrhoid banding is a nonsurgical process that blocks blood flow to a hemorrhoid, causing it to fall off. Discover more about this treatment option.

Countless people will experience hemorrhoids during their lifetime. Though the main cause of hemorrhoids might not be known, some factors associated with the condition are obesity, frequent constipation or diarrhea, recurrent straining while having a bowel movement, and pregnancy. Hemorrhoids, while highly uncomfortable, cause few serious complications and a number of treatment solutions are offered to address them. If you currently struggle with hemorrhoids, we invite you to seek professional hemorrhoid care at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates. Our local Hinsdale, IL gastroenterologists have advanced expertise in hemorrhoids and other digestive conditions. The team at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates can explain the various hemorrhoid removal procedures that may be available, including hemorrhoid banding. 

What are the signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids (also called piles) are swollen or bulging veins in the anal canal or in the rectum. Akin to varicose veins in the legs, hemorrhoids are generally uncomfortable, but most often harmless, and can be located internally or externally. Internal hemorrhoids, those within the rectum, typically cause no pain or discomfort, though they may bleed on occasion. External hemorrhoids, found beneath the skin surrounding the anal area, can result in greater pain. In cases where a blood clot occurs in an external hemorrhoid, it is called a thrombosed hemorrhoid and can be even more painful and uncomfortable. Common indications of hemorrhoids are: 

  • Bloody stools
  • Itching or discomfort in the anal region
  • Bleeding in the rectum

Who is a good candidate for hemorrhoid banding?

Additionally referred to as rubber band ligation for hemorrhoids, hemorrhoid banding at our Hinsdale, IL gastroenterology practice is a simple procedure where a small elastic band is positioned around the base of the hemorrhoid. This band cuts off the hemorrhoid’s blood supply and within about a week, the hemorrhoid typically shrivels and detaches. Patients who are candidates for this nonsurgical procedure have internal hemorrhoids that bleed or induce considerable discomfort and those who have been unable to diminish their pain with over-the- counter medicaments, alterations in lifestyle, or further remedies. Hemorrhoid banding might not be advised for people affected by rectal cancer, an allergy to latex, bleeding disorders, or inflammatory bowel disease. 

What is the hemorrhoid banding process?

The experienced physicians at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates commonly perform rubber band ligation for the treatment of hemorrhoids. The GI specialist places an anoscope into the anus and utilizes a device to secure the hemorrhoid in place while placing a small rubber band around its base. Typically, the procedure is only conducted for one hemorrhoid at a time unless the person is under general anesthesia. Refined techniques enable this hemorrhoid treatment to be relatively comfortable for patients even without having an anesthetic, but the majority of patients will notice a sense of fullness in the rectum for the first 24 hours after the procedure. When the hemorrhoid is banded, it typically takes only several days for it and the ligature to fall off. At times, people do not even notice when this occurs.

How effective is hemorrhoid banding treatment?

Hemorrhoid banding is deemed more successful than a number of other hemorrhoid treatment options. The nonsurgical procedure is significantly less invasive as opposed to surgery and only requires approximately ten minutes to conduct when performed by the GI doctors at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates. Approximately 80% of those who receive hemorrhoid banding will not require further procedures. Hemorrhoids addressed with rubber band ligation are considerably less likely to return. 

Find out more about hemorrhoid ligation in Hinsdale, IL

We understand that many people who have hemorrhoids feel embarrassed about getting medical assistance for the condition. Hemorrhoid banding is a nonsurgical and simple procedure that offers increased comfort and relief to patients in Hinsdale, IL. For further details surrounding rubber band ligation and other treatment options for hemorrhoids, contact Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates to book an appointment with a GI specialist.