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:
- Fecal Occult Blood Test: a yearly test that detects non-visible blood in stool samples.
- 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.
- 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.