Colorectal is a cancer that begins in the colon or rectum.

Types of colorectal cancer

Adenocarcinomas constitute 95% of colorectal cancer and originate in mucus-producing glands lining the colon and rectum

Carcinoid tumours develop from hormone-producing cells of the intestine

Gastrointestinal stromal tumours develop from the interstitial cells of Cajal. They may be benign or malignant

Lymphomas may start in the colon, rectum, or other organs

Sarcomas can start in the blood vessels, muscle, and connective tissue of the colon and rectum wall1

Colorectal Cancer Demographics

In 2010, an estimated 102,900 Americans were diagnosed with colon cancer and 39,670 were diagnosed with rectal cancer

An estimated 51,370 Americans died of colorectal cancer (9% of all cancer deaths)

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women

Colorectal cancer incidence and mortality have declined over most of the past 2 decades, attributable to the increased use of colorectal cancer screening and consequent removal of precancerous polyps

Colorectal Cancer Epidemiology

Risk factors include age >50 years; colorectal polyps; colorectal cancer in a first-degree relative; inherited syndromes like familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (Lynch syndrome); personal history of colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease; diets high in fat and low in calcium, folate, and fiber; physical inactivity, obesity, cigarette smoking, and heavy alcohol use

African Americans and Jews of Eastern European descent have a higher than normal incidence of colorectal cancer

The 5-year relative survival rate for persons with colorectal cancer is 65%2

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include a change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool; the sensation of incomplete bowel emptying; blood in the stool; cramps, flatulence, and bloating; unexplained weight loss; fatigue; nausea, and vomiting.