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Colorectal cancer is a term for cancer of the colon or rectum. Typically, colorectal cancer begins as a growth called a polyp that forms in the inner lining of the colon or rectum. 95% of all colon and rectal cancers start in the gland cells that line the inside of the colon and rectum. While not all polyps become cancerous, it is recommended that they be removed if discovered during a screening.

Colorectal cancer affects nearly 1 in 20 (5%) Americans each year and is currently the third most common cancer in the United States. While these statistics may be scary, the good news is that colon cancer is 90% curable if caught early. Additionally, each year the death rate for colon cancer has dropped for both men and women. Why? Screenings for colorectal cancer (such as a colonoscopy or blood test) improve the chance of detecting a polyp before it becomes cancerous, or discovering a cancer while it is in an earlier, more treatable stage. Additionally, colorectal cancer treatments have continued to improve in the last several years, resulting in over 1 million American colorectal cancer survivors.

Lowering your risk of colorectal cancer can be achieved by screenings, regular exercise, a diet rich in produce, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and limiting alcohol.