The colon and rectum are part of the digestive tract and together make up the large intestine. Colorectal Cancer (cancer of the Colon or Rectum) begins as a small growth in the lining of the colon or rectum. These grape-like growths may eventually form malignant, or cancerous, tumors. It is not known exactly what causes Colorectal Cancer, but there are certain risk factors that increase one's probability of developing it.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. But if everyone 50 or older had regular screening tests, at least one third of deaths from this cancer could be avoided.
Colorectal cancer occurs most often in people age 50 and older. The risk increases with age. Both men and women can get colorectal cancer.
Your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average if you or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or cancer or if you have inflammatory bowel disease. Speak with your doctor about having earlier or more frequent tests if you think you're at high risk for colorectal cancer.