Colorectal cancer is also called colon cancer or rectal cancer. It refers to any cancer in the colon, from the beginning, 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.The most common form of colorectal cancer is sporadic (nonhereditary) colorectal cancer, which is when colorectal cancer occurs without a personal or family history. Colorectal cancer is one of the most curable of gastrointestinal cancers. Learn more about sporadic (nonhereditary) colorectal cancer.
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. Learn more about hereditary colorectal cancer.
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. Learn more about hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer.