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Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. This year, more than 135,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,200 will die of the disease.

Preventable, Treatable, Beatable®

With certain types of screening, this cancer can be prevented by removing polyps (grape-like growths on the wall of the intestine) before they become cancerous. Several screening tests detect colorectal cancer early, when it can be easily and successfully treated.

Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older. More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older. Other risk factors include having—

  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.
  • A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).

Lifestyle factors that may contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer include—

  • Lack of regular physical activity.
  • A diet low in fruit and vegetables.
  • A low-fiber and high-fat diet.
  • Overweight and obesity.
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Tobacco use.

Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. Someone could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer is so important.

If you have symptoms, they may include—

  • Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement).
  • Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that don’t go away.
  • Losing weight and you don’t know why.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. They may be caused by something other than cancer. The only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.

Almost all colorectal cancers begin as precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Such polyps can be present in the colon for years before invasive cancer develops. They may not cause any symptoms. Colorectal cancer screening can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. In this way, colorectal cancer is prevented. Screening can also find colorectal cancer early, when there is a greater chance that treatment will be most effective and lead to a cure.

Research is underway to find out if changes to your diet can reduce your colorectal cancer risk. Medical experts don’t agree on the role of diet in preventing colorectal cancer, but often recommend a diet low in animal fats and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to reduce the risk of other chronic diseases, such as coronary artery disease and diabetes. This diet also may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Also, researchers are examining the role of certain medicines and supplements in preventing colorectal cancer.

Resources

Filter:

News | Jun 13, 2018Men’s Health Month: What should I ask at the doctor’s office?
News | Jun 4, 2018The Prevent Cancer Foundation® supports American Cancer Society’s new screening recommendations for colorectal cancer
News | Apr 20, 2018ICYMI: April 20, 2018
News | Aug 29, 2017The Super Colon from coast to coast
News | Jul 20, 2017Prevent Cancer Foundation® reaches underserved rural communities
News | Jun 23, 2017ICYMI: June 23, 2017
News | Mar 27, 2017Prevent Cancer Foundation’s community grantees work toward 80% by 2018
News | Mar 23, 2017A healthy colon starts with what you eat
News | Mar 10, 2017ICYMI: March 10, 2017
News | Mar 3, 2017ICYMI: March 3, 2017
News | Jan 20, 2017ICYMI: January 20, 2016
News | Dec 9, 2016ICYMI: December 9, 2016
News | Jul 29, 2016Nine Community Projects will Receive Funding for Cancer Prevention Work
News | Apr 26, 2016Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening and Hope in Chicago’s Southwest Side Neighborhoods
News | Apr 8, 2016ICYMI: April 8, 2016
News | Mar 29, 2016Promising Research to Find Colorectal Cancer Early
News | Mar 4, 2016ICYMI: March 4, 2016
News | Mar 3, 2016March Means Colorectal Cancer Prevention
News | Feb 18, 2016A Multi-State Coalition is Formed at the 2015 Dialogue for Action
News | Feb 3, 2016It's Cancer Prevention Month
News | Jan 22, 2016ICYMI: January 22, 2016
News | Oct 14, 2015Hyperdrive for Colon Cancer Prevention
News | Sep 25, 2015ICYMI: September 25, 2015
News | Aug 14, 2015ICYMI: August 14, 2015
News | Jul 17, 20152015 Community Grant Awardees Announced
News | May 1, 2015Preaching Prevention: The Prevent Cancer Super Colon® visits Ebenezer A.M.E. Church
News | Apr 14, 2015Alcohol Use and Cancer
News | Apr 3, 2015Prevention is a Year-Round Effort
News | Mar 26, 2015Foods to Help You Fight Off Colorectal Cancer
Story | Jan 29, 2015Lessons Learned at the 2015 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium
News | Oct 23, 2014Cooking up prevention: 2014 community grantee spotlight
News | Oct 7, 2014The Prevent Cancer Super Colon at the 5k Walk/Run
News | Jul 7, 2014Moving, chewing and dancing: Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives National Challenge
News | Jun 30, 2014Research progress report: Obesity and colorectal cancer risk
News | Jun 9, 2014Time to man up!
News | Jun 5, 2014Researcher progress report: The impact of diet on breast and colorectal cancers

Preventing cancer is kind of a big deal, right?

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