20 Facts About Colorectal Cancer


Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, is the development of cancer from the colon or rectum.

Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.

The rectum is the final straight portion of the large intestine in some mammals, and the gut in others.

Gastrointestinal is an adjective meaning of or pertaining to the stomach and intestines.

What is Colorectal Cancer? by Stanford Health Care


A cancer is the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body.

Colorectal Cancer Facts by Michigan Medicine


Signs and symptoms may include blood in the stool, a change in bowel movements, weight loss, and feeling tired all the time.

Weight loss, in the context of medicine, health, or physical fitness, refers to a reduction of the total body mass, due to a mean loss of fluid, body fat or adipose tissue and/or lean mass, namely bone mineral deposits, muscle, tendon, and other connective tissue.


Most colorectal cancers are due to old age and lifestyle factors with only a small number of cases due to underlying genetic disorders.


Some risk factors include diet, obesity, smoking, and lack of physical activity.

Smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream.

Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health.

Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness.


Dietary factors that increase the risk include red and processed meat as well as alcohol.

Processed meat is considered to be any meat which has been modified in order to either improve its taste or extend its shelf life.

In chemistry, an alcohol is any organic compound in which the hydroxyl functional group is bound to a saturated carbon atom.


Another risk factor is inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus.

Ulcerative colitis is a long-term condition that results in inflammation and ulcers of the colon and rectum.


Some of the inherited genetic disorders that can cause colorectal cancer include familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer; however, these represent less than 5% of cases.

Lynch syndrome is an autosomal dominant genetic condition that has a high risk of colon cancer as well as other cancers including endometrial cancer, ovary, stomach, small intestine, hepatobiliary tract, upper urinary tract, brain, and skin.

Familial adenomatous polyposis is an inherited condition in which numerous adenomatous polyps form mainly in the epithelium of the large intestine.


It typically starts as a benign tumor, often in the form of a polyp, which over time becomes cancerous.

Neoplasm is an abnormal growth of tissue, and, when it also forms a mass, is commonly referred to as a tumor.


Bowel cancer may be diagnosed by obtaining a sample of the colon during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.

Colonoscopy or coloscopy is the endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus.

Sigmoidoscopy is the minimally invasive medical examination of the large intestine from the rectum through the last part of the colon.


This is then followed by medical imaging to determine if the disease has spread.

Medical imaging is the technique and process of creating visual representations of the interior of a body for clinical analysis and medical intervention, as well as visual representation of the function of some organs or tissues.


Screening is effective for preventing and decreasing deaths from colorectal cancer.


Screening is recommended starting from the age of 50 to 75.


During colonoscopy, small polyps may be removed if found.


If a large polyp or tumor is found, a biopsy may be performed to check if it is cancerous.


Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs decrease the risk.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are a drug class that groups together drugs that provide analgesic and antipyretic effects, and, in higher doses, anti-inflammatory effects.

Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid, is a medication used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation.


Their general use is not recommended for this purpose, however, due to side effects.


Treatments used for colorectal cancer may include some combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.

Radiation therapy or radiotherapy, often abbreviated RT, RTx, or XRT, is therapy using ionizing radiation, generally as part of cancer treatment to control or kill malignant cells and normally delivered by a linear accelerator.

Targeted therapy or molecularly targeted therapy is one of the major modalities of medical treatment for cancer, others being hormonal therapy and cytotoxic chemotherapy.

In physics, radiation is the emission or transmission of energy in the form of waves or particles through space or through a material medium.


Cancers that are confined within the wall of the colon may be curable with surgery while cancer that has spread widely are usually not curable, with management being directed towards improving quality of life and symptoms.

Quality of life is the general well-being of individuals and societies, outlining negative and positive features of life.


Five year survival rates in the United States are around 65%.

The five-year survival rate is a type of survival rate for estimating the prognosis of a particular disease, normally calculated from the point of diagnosis.

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