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Colorectal Cancer

Also called: Colon cancer, Rectal cancer

Summary

The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer occurs when tumors form in the lining of the large intestine. It is common in both men and women. The risk of developing colorectal cancer rises after age 50. You're also more likely to get it if you have colorectal polyps, a family history of colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, eat a diet high in fat, or smoke.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • A feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
  • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Frequent gas pains or cramps, or feeling full or bloated
  • Weight loss with no known reason
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting

Because you may not have symptoms at first, it's important to have screening tests. Everyone over 50 should get screened. Tests include colonoscopy and tests for blood in the stool. Treatments for colorectal cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination. Surgery can usually cure it when it is found early.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in
  • Easy-to-Read (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)
  • (American Cancer Society) Also in

Diagnosis and Tests

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in
  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • Colostomy - slideshow (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
  • (Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons) Also in
  • Large bowel resection - slideshow (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in

Living With

  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Cancer Society)
  • (American Cancer Society)
  • (Colorectal Cancer Coalition) - PDF

Related Issues

  • (American Cancer Society)
  • (Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (American Cancer Society)

Specifics

  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)

Genetics

  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Human Genome Research Institute)
  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)

Images

Health Check Tools

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)

Videos and Tutorials

  • Video (American Cancer Society)
  • Video (BroadcastMed) - Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Merriam, KS, 05/04/2012

Statistics and Research

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in
  • (American Cancer Society) Also in

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in

Find an Expert

  • (American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy)
  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in

Women

  • (American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy) - PDF

Patient Handouts

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