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Colorectal Cancer


Cells in the Colon or Rectum grow out of control


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in the United States


Colorectal Cancer
What You Should Know

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in the United States.

More than 135,000 people will get colorectal cancer in the United States this year, and about one in 21 men and one in 23 women will get the disease during their lifetimes. CRC is the third leading cause of cancer death in women, and the second leading cause of cancer death in men.

However, the death rate has been dropping steadily over the last few decades, most likely due to better screening and treatment.

This type of cancer was estimated to be the second most commonly diagnosed and the second leading cause of cancer death in Europe in 2020, with nearly 520,000 new cases and 245,000 deaths.

Colorectal Cancer is a Disease

Sometimes called colon cancer, for short, colorectal cancer is a disease in which cells in the colon or rectum grow out of control. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.

Blood in the stool and other stomach problems such as gas, constipation, pain, vomiting, unexplained weight loss or bloating can be a sign of CRC.

CRC usually starts from precancerous growths or abnormal growths called polyps, in the colon or rectum. Over time, some polyps may turn into cancer. Screening tests can find polyps so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment works best.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

A screening test is used to look for a disease when a person doesn’t have symptoms,  so that precancerous polyps can be removed before they turn into cancer.

When a person has symptoms, diagnostic tests are used to find out the cause of the symptoms.

The benefits of screening are so great that doctors recommend most people start colorectal cancer screening by age 45. Some people who are at higher risk may need to start screening before age 45. women. About 7 in 10 U.S. adults aged 50 to 75 are up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening.

Five types of tests are used to screen for CRC:

▪ Fecal occult blood test.

▪ Sigmoidoscopy.

▪ Colonoscopy.

▪ Virtual colonoscopy.

▪ DNA stool test.

Your doctor can prescribe an at-home stool kit,  a fecal occult blood test (FOBT), to test your stool for blood or DNA (or both). Blood in the stool may be a sign of polyps, cancer, or other conditions.

With colonoscopy, however, doctors use thin tube with a light, camera, and surgical tools to look inside the rectum and colon for growths, other abnormal tissue, or cancer.

Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older, but getting regular physical activity and keeping a healthy weight may help lower your risk.

Furthermore, other risk factors include:

▪ Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

▪ A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).

▪ A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.


▪ Overweight and obesity.

▪ Alcohol consumption.

▪ Tobacco use.

▪ A diet low in fruit and vegetables.

▪ A low-fiber and high-fat diet, or a diet high in processed meats.

Some studies show that drinking three or more alcoholic drinks (red and white wine, beer, and liquor) per day, increases your risk. Moderation here means, two drinks or less in a day for men or one drink or less in a day for women.

And finally,

▪ Lack of regular physical activity.

Moving more and sitting less, have benefits for everyone, regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, or current fitness level, or location.

Physical activity fosters normal growth and development and can make people feel better, function better, sleep better, and reduce the risk of a large number of chronic diseases.

An estimated 110,000 deaths per year could be prevented if adults in the U.S., 40 and older, increased their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by a small amount. Even 10 minutes more a day would make a difference.


▪ At least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking.

▪ Not less than 2 days a week of activities that strengthen muscles.

▪ Get at least 150 minutes (30 minutes 5 days a week) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity a week.

FDA-Approved or Cleared for Colorectal Cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviews and clears or approves colorectal cancer tests (Guaiac FOBT, Immunochemical FOBT,  Fecal Immunochemical Test or FIT), prescription medicines, and medical devices (sigmoidoscope, colonoscope), used during colorectal cancer screening.

Also, talk to your doctor before taking aspirin for colorectal cancer prevention or heart disease prevention.

Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older.

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