Cancer Information

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a malignant disease occurring in the colon or the rectum.  The American Cancer Society's 2003 statistics predict that approximately 1 in 17 people will develop colorectal cancer, the third leading cancer in the United States, responsible for approximately 10% of cancer deaths. About 135,000 people are diagnosed with this malignancy every year. Cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer, and cancer that begins in the rectum is called rectal cancer. A Cancer that affects  either of these organs may also be called colorectal cancer. 

Risk factors for Colorectal Cancer:

 The following risk factors increase a person's chances of developing colorectal cancer- 

  • Age-. Colorectal cancer is more likely to occur as people get older. This disease is more common in people over the age of 50. However, colorectal cancer can occur at younger age in rare cases.

  • Diet- Colorectal cancer seems to be associated with diets that are high in fat and calories and low in fiber..

  • Polyps- Polyps are benign growths on the inner wall of the colon and rectum. They are fairly common in people over age 50. Some types of polyps increase a person's risk of developing colorectal cancer. There are several types of polyps. The most common types of polyps include hyperplastic polyp, tubular adenoma, and villous adenoma. Hyperplastic polyps are not strongly associated with cancer; however, adenomas are considered the precursor lesion for most colorectal cancers and therefore their removal is part of a cancer prevention routine. A rare, inherited condition, called familial polyposis, causes hundreds of polyps to form in the colon and rectum. Without treatment,  familial polyposis is almost always leads to colorectal cancer.

  • Personal medical history- Women with a history of cancer of the ovary, uterus, or breast have an increased chance of developing colorectal cancer. A person with a previous history of colorectal cancer may develop this disease a second time. 

  • Family medical history- Parents, siblings, children of a person who has had colorectal cancer are somewhat more likely to develop this type of cancer themselves, especially if the relative had the cancer at a young age. If many family members have had colorectal cancer, the chances increase even more.

  • Ulcerative colitis-Ulcerative colitis is a condition is an inflammatory disease of colon and increases the risk of colorectal cancer.