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Colorectal Cancer - The development of malignant growths or tumors originating in the tissues of the colon or rectum. The colon and rectum are parts of the body’s gastrointestinal (digestive) system. Colon cancer refers to cancer that originates in the colon, or the first five feet of the large intestine (or large bowel). Rectal cancer refers to cancer that originates in the rectum, or the last six inches of the large intestine. Together, these two types of cancer are classified as colorectal cancer.
Adenocarcinomas account for about 95 percent of colorectal cancers. Adenocarcinomas (e.g., mucinous, signet ring cell) begin in the intestinal gland cells that line the inside of the colon and rectum. In most cases, colorectal cancers develop slowly over a period of several years and involve individuals over 50 years of age. Diet, obesity, family history, and other inherited disorders are also common risk factors for colorectal cancer.
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