texas oncology more breakthroughs. more victories
Request an Appointment

Dr. Rachel Weinheimer: What Women Should Know about Colorectal Cancer

March 10, 2021

There is no better gift a person can give themselves and their loved ones than staying on top of preventive cancer screenings. That’s a message Rachel Weinheimer, M.D., colon and rectal surgeon at Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists–Amarillo, wants everyone to know during Colorectal Awareness Month, celebrated annually in March.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the U.S. Dr. Weinheimer said women, in particular, face major challenges with a colorectal cancer diagnosis. These obstacles must be overcome, starting with education and awareness.

People often dismiss the risks and put off getting screened because they’re uncomfortable. It’s easy to dismiss cancer until you have it.”

“Cancer is one of the most dreaded diagnoses because it can spark fear, confusion, and a sense of helplessness in patients and their families. One of the important ways that we can combat cancer is by spreading awareness and educating people about the disease,” said Dr. Weinheimer, who also specializes in preventative care like screenings and colonoscopies. “People often dismiss the risks and put off getting screened because they’re uncomfortable. It’s easy to dismiss cancer until you have it.”

Here’s what women should know about colorectal cancer – and share with the men in their lives, too.

Colon cancer can be prevented.

Colonoscopies identify 95% of precancerous polyps and cancers – often before symptoms are present. It’s the best hope for catching cancer early, often resulting in less toxic treatment, better quality of life, and greater outcomes.

Most patients come in with no symptoms before their diagnosis.

This is why getting scheduled screenings is so important. “To the women who say they are too busy with their jobs and their families, I say the biggest gift you can give to your family and yourself is a preventive screening, even if you don’t think you have symptoms. It’s not a gift to forgo your screening and have to go through a challenging treatment after a diagnosis,” said Dr. Weinheimer.

Late-stage colorectal cancer diagnoses are on the rise in people younger than 50.

Talk to your physician about your personal health and family history to understand your cancer risk. Schedule a telemedicine consultation if you’re not comfortable going to an in-person appointment.

Getting screened is by far one of the best decisions you’ll make.

“Under no circumstances is it worth waiting. Don’t put off your screening. If you’re uncomfortable or concerned, talk to a physician. Get a colonoscopy and tell all of your friends and family to do it too. Spread awareness. Show support to one another. Lead by example. It’s worth it,” said Dr. Weinheimer.

In Texas in 2021, there are 11,280 expected new cases of colorectal cancer and 4,030 deaths. Screening is essential to prevention and early diagnosis. Download the colorectal cancer fact sheet for more information.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.