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What is colorectal cancer?

March 9, 2020 — Tamara Castellano

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. All month long, we’ll be sharing information about screening, diagnosis, and more.

Colorectal cancer occurs in the colon or rectum. The term colorectal cancer is used to describe colon cancer, rectum cancer or both. As the graphic below shows, the colon is part of the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.

Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum), when discovered early, is highly treatable. Even if it spreads into nearby lymph nodes, surgical treatment followed by chemotherapy is highly effective. In the most difficult cases — when cancer has spread to the liver, lungs or other sites — treatment can help make surgery an option for many, as well as prolonging and adding to one’s quality of life. Research is constantly being done to learn more and provide hope for people no matter what stage their cancer is in.

Most colorectal cancers develop first as polyps, which are abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum that may later become cancerous if not removed.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the US and the second leading cause of cancer death. It affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people 50 years or older. However, the incidence in those younger than 50 is on the rise. This disease takes the lives of more than 50,000 people every year; we’re here to educate people on how to prevent this disease and lower that statistic.

This article was authored by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. Visit them at https://www.ccalliance.org/

Topics: Your Health

Written by

Tamara Castellano

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