March is Colon Cancer Awareness month and as such we will be presenting more articles and information about Colorectal cancer this month. Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. Sometimes it is called colon cancer, for short. As the drawing shows, the colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.
Colon cancer, when discovered early, is highly treatable. Even if it spreads into nearby lymph nodes, surgical treatment followed by chemotherapy is highly successful. In the most difficult cases — when the cancer has metastasized to the liver, lungs or other sites — treatment can prolong and add to the quality of life.
Most colorectal cancers develop first as colorectal polyps, which are growths inside the colon or rectum that may later become cancerous.
Colorectal cancer affects both men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, and is most often found in people aged 50 years or older. For men, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer after prostate and lung cancers. For women, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer after breast and lung cancers.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn't have to be. If everybody aged 50 or older has regular screening test, as many as 80% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented.
Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. Screening can find precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—so that they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment often leads to a cure.