It is estimated that there were 102,900 new cases of colon cancer and 39,670 new cases of rectal cancer in the United States during 2010. There were about 51,390 deaths from both colon cancer and rectal cancer that same year.
The colon is the longest part of the large intestine (the first six feet of the colon, also referred to as the large bowel) and is involved with digestion. The last six inches are known as the rectum and anal canal (the anus is the opening from the large intestine to the outside world). The most common form of colon cancer involves the cells that make and release mucus and other fluids, which are known as adenocarcinomas.
Colon cancer and rectal cancer (colorectal cancer) are the fourth most common cancer in men in the United States (behind skin, prostate, and lung cancer) and the fourth most common cancer in women in the United States (behind skin, breast, and lung cancer).
Risk Factors For Colon Cancer
The possible risk factors for colon cancer include being 50 or older; a family history of colon or rectum cancer; having a personal history of cancer of the colon, rectum, ovary, endometrium, or breast; having a personal history of polyps in the colon (polyps are small bulging pieces of tissue); having a personal history of ulcerative colitis (ulcers in the lining of the large intestine) or Crohn disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) usually involving the small intestine and colon in which the gastrointestinal tract is inflamed over a long period of time); and, certain hereditary conditions involving the digestive tract.
Risk Factors For Rectal Cancer
The possible risk factors for rectal cancer include being 40 or older; having certain hereditary conditions involving the digestive tract; having polyps in the colon or rectum; having a personal history of colorectal cancer or cancer of the ovary, endometrium, or breast; and, a close family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
Source: National Cancer Institute
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