What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer describes cancer of the colon or rectum. It is the third most common type of cancer in the United States. Therefore, it is important to know the symptoms, risks, and how to prevent and treat colorectal cancer.
The colon and rectum are parts of the large intestine at the end of the digestive system. Food and fluids pass through the esophagus, into the stomach, then into the small and large intestines. The first 5 feet of the large intestine is called the colon. The last 6-8 inches of the large intestine that ends at the anus is called the rectum. Waste and feces are stored in the colon until a bowel movement. Colorectal cancer usually starts as a small polyp on the inner wall of the colon or rectum and becomes cancerous over time. Removal of the polyps can prevent the progression into cancer if caught early enough.