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Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer or rectal cancer, begins in the cells of the colon (the large intestine) or the rectum (the end of the colon). Most colorectal cancers start as a polyp, which is a growth of tissue that starts in the lining of the colon or rectum and then continues to grow into the center. Although not all polyps are cancerous, over 95% of all colorectal cancers come from an adenocarcinoma—a polyp that has become cancerous. Other rarer types of colorectal cancer result from a tumor of the colon and/or rectum.

Over the past few decades, the death rate from colorectal cancer has decreased, due to both early detection of pre-cancerous polyps through regular colorectal screening, as well as significant advances in colorectal cancer treatments.

Routine Screening

Early screening is the best tool in preventing and treating colon cancer. Colorectal cancer is extremely preventable if the polyps that lead to the cancer can be detected and removed, which can be done through a colonoscopy.

In the News

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  • Cancer deaths decline in United States, with advances in prevention, detection and treatment

    Cancer deaths decline in US, with advances in prevention, detection and treatment

    In an essay originally published by The Conversation, Cancer Center Director Jonathan Gerber, MD, discusses the specifics of recently reported declines in cancer deaths and provides perspective for future continued progress.

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