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Colorectal Cancer: 101

Colorectal cancer (CRC), often referred to as colon cancer, develops in the colon or the rectum (known as the large bowel or large intestine). CRC usually develops slowly over many years when a noncancerous (benign) adenoma or polyp (abnormal growth) develops on the lining of the colon or rectum and progresses into a cancerous one.

The most common symptoms of colon cancer include: blood in the stool, change in caliber of stool (narrower stool), unexplained abdominal pain, unexplained change in bowel habits and unexplained anemia.

The majority of cases of CRC can be prevented with proper screening. There are many ways to screen for CRC, including the colonoscopy, imaging studies such as CT colonography and stools studies.

The best time to initiate screening varies from person to person based on individual risk factors. If you have access to healthcare, speak to your provider today about the best time to initiate screening and get screened for colon cancer today—it can save your life!

Watch the TED Ed animation below to learn more about colorectal cancer and the importance of screening:

Dr. Frank G. Gress is a paid consultant of Cook Medical.
Dr. Amit H. Sachdev is not a paid consultant of Cook Medical.