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Colon cancer facts

  • Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine (colon) or rectum.
  • Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer in both men and women in the U.S.
  • Common risk factors for colorectal cancer include increasing age, African-American race, a family history of colorectal cancer, colon polyps, and long-standing ulcerative colitis.
  • Most colorectal cancers develop from polyps. Removal of colon polyps can aid in the prevention of colorectal cancer.
  • Colon polyps and early cancer may have no early signs or symptoms. Therefore, regular colorectal cancer screening is important.
  • Diagnosis of colorectal cancer can be made by sigmoidoscopy or by colonoscopy with biopsy confirmation of cancerous tissue.
  • Treatment of colorectal cancer depends on the location, size, and extent of cancer spread, as well as the health of the patient.
  • Surgery is the most common medical treatment for colorectal cancer.
  • Early-stage colorectal cancers are typically treatable by surgery alone.
  • Chemotherapy can extend life and improve quality of life for those who have had or are living with metastatic colorectal cancer. It can also reduce the risk of recurrence in patients found to have high-risk colon cancer findings at surgery.
Return to Colon Cancer

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