What is colorectal cancer?

  • Cancer is a type of disease in which abnormal and uncontrollable growth of bodily cells occurs.
  • Often referred to as "colon cancer"
  • Colorectal cancer refers to the abnormal growth of cells located in the colon and rectum which make up the large intestine.
  • Colorectal cancer often originates within the large intestine as "polyps", which over a long period of time may become cancerous.
  • This type of cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States.
  • Colorectal cancer affects men and women, and is the second leading cancer-related cause of death.

What causes colorectal cancer?

  • The exact cause is unknown, and about 75% of cases occur in people who do not have any known risk factors
  • Some conditions may increase the risk. These include Inflammatory Bowel Disease, certain genetic syndromes, or a family history of polyps or cancer.

Preventative screening is the best method of prevention of this disease

  • Screening can detect abnormal cells or early stage cancer, making treatment easier and more effective.
  • Men and women between the ages of 50 and 75 should be screened regularly. These screenings include:
  1. Fecal Occult Blood Test: a yearly test that detects non-visible blood in stool samples.
  2. Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: a test done every 5 years which involves the use of a flexible lighted tube to examine the interior of the rectum and parts of the colon.
  3. Colonoscopy: a test that is done every 10 years, in which a flexible lighted tube is used to examine the entire rectum and colon. It is also used as a diagnostic test when abnormal results are found in a previous test.
  • Research shows strong support of a physically active lifestyle, and healthy weight maintenance as means of lowering the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

For more information, visit the Center for Disease Control's website concerning Colorectal Cancer

CDC's Brochure Concerning Colorectal Screening