Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon (large intestine) or rectum (passageway between colon and anus). People who have polyps or colorectal cancer do not always have symptoms, especially at first. If there are symptoms, they may include:

  • Blood in your stool
  • Frequent stomach aches, pains, cramps with no other known reason
  • A change in bowel habits, such as narrowing of stools
  • Weight loss without dieting
  • Anemia 

Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Colon cancer affects both men and women equally and is one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer when found early.

Colorectal cancer usually starts from polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Some polyps can develop into cancer. A colonoscopy screening test can find polyps which can be removed before they turn into cancer or at least in the early stages of cancer when the cure rate is higher. All adults should start screening at age 50 or earlier for those at high risk.

Your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average if you or a close relative have had polyps or cancer of if you have inflammatory bowel disease. Speak to your doctor about having earlier and more frequent screenings if you are at high risk.