Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is the No. 2 cancer killer in the United States.

But there's encouraging news: According to the American Cancer Society, the colorectal cancer death rate has dropped roughly 20 percent in the last 10 years. Dr. James Weese, medical director of Advocate Christ Medical Center's Cancer Institute said, "Much of this progress is because of increased screening and improved treatment options." Here's what you need to know.

Colon and rectal cancer is a cancer that forms in the lining of the lower digestive tract. In most cases these cancers develop slowly over many years. Symptoms include any changes in bowel habits or blood in the stool that lasts for more than a few days. Screening is important to find the disease before symptoms appear.

Most of these tumors begin as a polyp - a growth that starts in the lining and eventually grows into the center of the colon or rectum. While the specific causes are unknown, we do know some factors that increase your risk of developing this disease.

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