Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know
- Colorectal cancer is one of the most curable types of gastrointestinal cancer, if found early.
- Adults should begin regular screening at age 50. Those with a family history of colorectal cancer or those who are age 45 and older and of African-American or Eastern European Jewish descent should be screened even earlier.
- Screenings should include a fecal occult test or fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) every year; or a flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years with or without a stool based test at year 3; or a colonoscopy every 10 years.
- If a polyp is found, your doctor will want to monitor you closely. Some polyps are benign growths that could become cancerous if left untreated.
- Some forms of colorectal cancer are hereditary.
Colorectal cancer is also called colon cancer or rectal cancer. It refers to any cancer in the colon, from the start point, called the cecum, to the end, called the rectum.
Colorectal cancer occurs when the cells that line the colon or rectum become abnormal and grow out of control.
Colon Cancer Screening: What You Need to Know
Colonoscopy not your cup of tea? While it’s the best screening for colorectal cancer, there are other screening options.
Gastroenterologist Francis Giardiello breaks down what you should know about the colon cancer screening options available today.
Colorectal Cancer Types
Sporadic (Nonhereditary) Colorectal Cancer
The most common form of colorectal cancer is sporadic (nonhereditary) colorectal cancer, which is when colorectal cancer occurs without a personal or family history.
Hereditary Colorectal Cancer
Hereditary colorectal cancer means the cancer gene is passed down in the family, though it is unclear which gene causes the disease. If more than one person in a family has colorectal cancer, it could mean that the potential for developing this form of cancer has been passed from one generation to the next.
Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer
Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) syndrome was first described more than 100 years ago. It is the most common of the recognized inherited colorectal cancer syndromes. Also known as Lynch syndrome or cancer family syndrome, HNPCC is an inherited condition, meaning that the tendency to develop colorectal cancer is passed down in the family. Nonpolyposis means that the cancer can occur with only a small number of polyps present, or even with none at all.
Colon Cancer: Q&A with a Gastroenterologist
What is the prep for a colonoscopy? Are there other types of colon cancer screening? Read on for expert answers to these and other common questions about colon cancer.
Colorectal Cancer Research
Blood Test Accurately Predicts Disease’s Recurrence
A new test could help in early detection of recurrent colon cancer.
Predicting Response to Immunotherapy Drug
Picking the right therapy for advanced colorectal cancer may one day be simpler. A small study has found a genetic biomarker that could be used to determine whether patients will benefit from certain immunotherapy drugs.
Safer Colorectal Surgery
Bigger isn’t always better. Small steps — like urging patients to get up and move around sooner — can make a substantial difference in colorectal surgical outcomes, recovery time and cost of care.
Genetic Roots of Drug Response
Scientists are now one step closer to creating tailored treatment for colorectal cancer. Mutations recently found in certain genes may explain why some patients respond differently to some of the most common targeted therapies used to treat the disease.
Make a Health Promise
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S., excluding skin cancers. Early detection is vital, and a screening is recommended every 10 years, starting at age 50. Those with a family history of colorectal cancer should be screened starting at age 40, or 10 years before the youngest case in the family, whichever comes first.
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