Colorectal cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in the colon and/or rectum. The colon and the rectum are parts of the large intestine.
Cancer occurs when cells in the body divide out of control or order. If cells keep dividing, a mass of tissue, called a growth or tumor, forms. The term cancer refers to malignant tumors. They can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor does not invade or spread.
In most cases, the healthy portions of the colon or rectum are reconnected. Sometimes they cannot be joined. In this case, a temporary or permanent
is necessary. This is a surgical opening through the abdomen into the colon. Body waste can exit here into a special bag.
This is the use of
to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It is directed at the site of the tumor from a source outside the body. It is used alone or in combination with chemotherapy in rectal cancer.
uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be given in many forms, including pill, injection, and via a catheter. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body killing mostly cancer cells. It can also kill some healthy cells.
If you are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, follow your doctor's
The cause of most colorectal cancer is not known. However, it is possible to prevent many colon cancers by finding and removing polyps that could become cancerous. Beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for the development of colorectal cancer should follow one of the five screening options listed below:
Yearly fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test
Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 3-5 years
Yearly fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test plus flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
Double contrast barium enema (x-rays of the colon and rectum) every 5 years
Colonoscopy every 10 years
Be sure to discuss these cancer screening tools with your doctor to see which option is best for you.
People with any of the following risk factors should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier at age 40 and/or undergo screening more often:
Strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
Known family history of hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes
Personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
Personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a