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colorectal cancer small image

Colorectal cancer, commonly known as colon cancer, is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. Colon cancer begins as a growth on the lining of the colon or rectum called a polyp. Overtime, some polyps may develop into cancer.

Get The Facts

  • Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the 3rd most common cancer worldwide and 2nd leading cause of cancer related death.
  • Over 140,000 new cases are diagnosed and 50,000 deaths occur each year from colorectal cancer.
  • The American Cancer Society recommends that all patients ages 50 to 75 be screened for CRC.

Risk Factors

The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with advancing age. More than 90% of cases occur in people aged 50 or older. Other risk factors include having:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.
  •  A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).

Symptoms

Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer don't always cause symptoms, especially at first. If there are symptoms, they may include:

  • blood in or on your stool
  • stomach pain that doesn’t go away
  • unusual weight loss

What You Can Do

Early detection of colorectal cancer through screening programs is an effective way to reduce mortality. Screening can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.

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