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Introduction to colon cancer prevention
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.
Colorectal cancer is a major cause of cancer-related deaths among men and women in the United States.
The good news is that colorectal can be 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:
Measures that have scientifically-proven effectiveness and long-term safety
Measures that probably are effective but may have long-term, adverse side effects
Measures that probably are effective, and safe
Measures that have been found to be ineffective
Measures that have no scientific basis and no studies to measure effectiveness and safety
On August 11, 2014, the FDA approved a new test for home use called Cologuard to screen for hemoglobin and abnormal (precancerous and cancerous) cells by detecting their abnormal DNA fragments. The test was proved safe and effective in a large clinical trial.