In the United States, colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men, after skin, prostate, and lung cancer. It is also the fourth most common cancer among women, after skin, lung, and breast cancer. An estimated 108,000 new colon cancer cases and 41,000 new rectal cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2008. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the United States. It is estimated that there will be 50,000 colorectal cancer deaths in 2008.
The colon is a long muscular tube approximately four and a half feet long forming the last part of the digestive tract. The job of the colon is to absorb water and nutrients as semi liquid food waste passes through the colon. Next, the food waste is stored in the rectum, which makes up the last six-eight inches of the colon, until it is excreted through the anus. The colon is divided into the following four parts:
- Ascending colon located on the right side of the abdomen
- Transverse colon which crosses the abdomen from right to left
- Descending colon which continues downward on the left side
- Sigmoid colon which is shaped like an S and connects with the rectum
Colorectal cancer occurs due to changes in the cells that line the colon and the rectum. These cells may clump together to form a polyp which over time can turn cancerous. The cause of these changes may be either sporadic (unknown), familial/environmental or hereditary (gene mutation).
Screening is the best preventive measure against colorectal cancer. Everyone 50 years or older should have a colonoscopy as well as anyone with a strong family history of cancer of the colon, rectum, endometrial, ovarian, stomach, kidney/urinary tract, biliary tract, brain, small bowel, pancreatic or sebaceous skin cancer.
At the John Stoddard Cancer Center, we are committed to quality and will be here for you and your family through every step of your battle with colorectal cancer. We use a multidisciplinary team approach bringing together the members of our colorectal treatment team twice a month to discuss the best practice for our patients to help ensure the best outcomes. Using our extensive experience dealing with every stage of this disease, our cutting-edge treatments and vast resources, we will do everything we can to help.
Browse through our website to learn more about colorectal cancer and what we have to offer. You'll see that from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up, you can count on us to provide quality care. Together, we can design the best possible treatment plan for you. Know that along with hundreds of other cancer centers nationwide, we will continue our research to help find a cure for this disease.