Colon Cancer Prevention

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Introduction to colon cancer prevention

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Cancer of the colon and the rectum (also known as colon cancer or colorectal cancer) is a malignant growth arising from the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer for both sexes in the United States. The American Cancer Society in their 2014 Cancer Facts and Figures report estimates that more than 135,000 cases will be diagnosed in 2014 and at least 50,000 deaths due to colorectal cancer will occur in 2014.


cancer is a major cause of cancer-related deaths among men and women in the United States.

The good news is that colorectal cancer is both curable and preventable if it is detected early and completely removed before the cancerous cells metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body. colorectal cancer can be prevented by removing colorectal polyps before they grow and change into cancers, or by using natural substances or man-made chemicals to prevent the colorectal polyps from changing into cancer. (Using natural substances or chemicals to prevent cancer is called chemoprevention).

Measures to prevent diseases usually fall into one of five categories of safety and effectiveness. These categories are:

  1. Measures that have scientifically-proven effectiveness and long-term safety
  2. Measures that probably are effective but may have long-term, adverse side effects
  3. Measures that probably are effective, and safe
  4. Measures that have been found to be ineffective or unsafe
  5. Measures that have no scientific basis and no studies to measure effectiveness and safety

What measures to prevent colorectal cancer have proven effectiveness and long term safety?

Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy (along with digital rectal examination and stool occult blood testing) are the primary and most important tools for both preventing colorectal cancers and detecting early colorectal cancers.

Most colorectal cancers arise from colorectal polyps (small growths on the inner lining of the colon and the rectum). Even though colorectal polyps are initially benign, they can grow and change into colorectal cancers over a period of time ranging from five to twenty years. A large study that was conducted in several research centers in the United States showed that patients who had their polyps removed (usually via colonoscopy) had a 90% decrease in colorectal cancer.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/28/2014

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Colon Cancer Screening And Surveillance

Screening recommendations for individuals with average risk of colon cancer

The life-time risk for an adult American to develop colorectal cancer is approximately 6%. Fecal occult blood tests and flexible sigmoidoscopic examinations are the recommended screening tests for these individuals at average risk for developing colorectal cancer.


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