Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer

This year, about 147,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The disease affects men and women equally.

The colon extends from the end of the small intestine to the rectum. It consists of ascending, transverse and descending segments. Because colon cancer and rectal cancers have many features in common, they are sometimes referred to together as colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancers usually start when polyp cells begin growing abnormally. As a cancer tumor grows, it can invade the deeper layers of the colon or rectal wall.

In time, cancer can grow beyond the colon or rectum and into nearby organs. It can spread to nearby lymph nodes. The cancer cells can also travel to other parts of the body. This is known as metastasis. The earlier a cancer tumor is removed, the better the chance of preventing its spread.

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