Colorectal cancer is cancer in the colon or rectum. Sometimes, it’s called colon cancer or rectal cancer (though often, it’s combined as colorectal cancer). The colon and rectum make up the large intestine, a part of the digestive system.
What causes colorectal cancer
Colon and rectal cancer start from small growths called polyps. These polyps are lumps that form in the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Some polyps can become cancerous as they grow and spread to other parts of the body.
Polyp symptoms may not appear until the cancer is more advanced. Some symptoms of colorectal cancer include blood in the stool, changes in bowel habits or stomach pain.
Other causes of colorectal cancer
There are factors that may make someone more likely to develop colorectal cancer:
- African American
- An immediate family member (mother, father, sister or brother) who has had polyps or colorectal cancer
- Excessive alcohol use
- Getting older
- High consumption of red or processed meat
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Inherited condition that causes colorectal cancer, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
- Low fiber diet
- Overweight or no exercise
- Previous colorectal cancer
- Previous colon polyps or rectal polyps
At Providence, we’re here to answer your questions about colorectal cancer. If you have any risk factors, it’s important to talk to your doctor.