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Colorectal cancer information

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is cancer that develops in the tissues of the colon and/or rectum. The colon and the rectum are both found in the lower part of the gastrointestinal (digestive) system. They form a long, muscular tube called the large intestine (or large bowel). The colon absorbs food and water and stores waste. The rectum is responsible for passing waste from the body.

If the cancer began in the colon, which is the first four to five feet of the large intestine, it may be referred to as colon cancer. If the cancer began in the rectum, which is the last several inches of the large intestine leading to the anus, it is called rectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer starts in the inner lining of the colon and/or rectum, slowly growing through some or all of its layers. It typically starts as a growth of tissue called a polyp. A particular type of polyp, called an adenoma, can then develop into cancer.

Colorectal cancer incidence

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer (or third, excluding skin cancers) in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimated that 143,460 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2012.

How colorectal cancer develops

Video: How Colon Cancer Develops

Knowing how colon cancer develops is an important first step in identify your appropriate colon cancer treatment plan. Learn more about colon cancer by watching this medical animation.
Types of colorectal cancer

Learn about different types of colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer symptoms

Read about common colorectal cancer symptoms.

Colorectal cancer risk factors

Read about common risk factors for colorectal cancer.

Stages of colorectal cancer

Learn about the stages of colorectal cancer.

We're here to guide you through the cancer journey

We understand you may be feeling overwhelmed with questions and concerns about your type of cancer and what it all means. We're here to help guide you through the process.

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