Colorectal Cancer Chapter 2
Colorectal cancer refers to cancer of the colon and cancer of the rectum. The colon is the longest part of the large intestine, and the rectum is the last several inches of the large intestine, closest to the anus.
Colorectal cancer is very common. Worldwide, it is the third most common form of cancer and the fourth most frequent cause of cancer deaths. In Western countries, colorectal cancer accounts for more new cases per year than any cancer except lung cancer. It is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US when men and women are considered separately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined. The risk is slightly higher for men. Colorectal cancer kills almost 50,000 people each year in the US.
If colorectal cancer is caught early, it's treatable and even curable. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that colorectal cancer often occurs without any symptoms. What's more, only about 40% of the people who should be screened do, in fact, get tested. Increased rates of screening and greater awareness of how common, and how dangerous, colorectal cancer is could greatly reduce its prevalence.
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