Colorectal cancer occurs when malignant cells are
found in the colon or rectum. Because colon cancer and rectal
cancers have many features in common, they are sometimes referred to
together as colorectal cancer. Cancerous tumors found in the colon
or rectum also may spread to other parts of the body.
Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the
third most common cancer in both men and women. The lifetime risk of
developing colorectal cancer is 1 in 20. The American Cancer
Society estimates that, in 2012, 103,170 new cases of colon cancer
will be diagnosed, and 40,290 cases of rectal cancer will be
diagnosed. Colorectal cancer is expected to cause approximately
51,690 deaths this year.
Early diagnosis dramatically increases the chance of survival. In
fact, the number of deaths due to colorectal cancer has
decreased, which is attributed to the increased use of screening
colonoscopy and polyp removal.
Risk factors for colorectal cancer may include:
Age -- Most people who have colorectal cancer are over age 50;
however, it can occur at any age.
Race -- African-Americans have the highest risk for colorectal
Diet -- Colorectal cancer is often associated with a diet high
in red and processed meats.
Polyps -- Benign growths on the wall of the colon or rectum
are common in people over age 50, and are believed to lead to
Personal history -- People who have had colorectal cancer or a
history of adenomatous polyps have an increased risk for colorectal
Family history -- People with a strong family history of
colorectal cancer or polyps in a first-degree relative (especially
in a parent or sibling before the age of 60 or in two first-degree
relatives of any age), have an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
Ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease -- People who have an
inflamed lining of the colon have an increased risk for colorectal
Inherited syndromes, such as familial adenomatous
polyposis, known as FAP, or hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer,
known as HNPCC.
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Though the exact cause of colorectal cancer is unknown, there are
behavioral changes that can have some effect.
"We cannot control our
genetics," said James Thiele, M.D., specialist in colon and rectal
surgery at Springfield Clinic. "But we can control our lifestyle. An increase in exercise, as well as a diet high in whole grains,
fruits and vegetables, can have a positive impact."
Cancer Society estimates that nearly one-third of all cancer
deaths can be attributed to weight, diet and lack of physical
While lifestyle modifications can be helpful, early detection is the
best method for survival and treatment.
"Screening tests, such as
colonoscopies, can catch the disease early, allowing us to treat
colorectal cancers before they become deadly, or before they become
cancer at all," says Robert Mosley, M.D., specialist in
gastroenterology at Springfield Clinic. "They truly are
A colonoscopy procedure with a Springfield Clinic colon and rectal
surgeon or gastroenterologist can typically be scheduled within two
weeks of the initial consultation appointment.
Patients with acute symptoms, like blood in the stool, will be
worked into the schedule on an as-needed basis. Most screening
colonoscopies are completed at Springfield Clinic's Ambulatory
Surgery & Endoscopy Center, located at the clinic's Main Campus East
Building, 1025 S. Sixth St. in Springfield.
To schedule your colonoscopy or other colorectal cancer screening
tests, call Springfield
Clinic at 217-528-7541 or visit
[Text from file received from
Patty Kuhn, director of marketing,
About Springfield Clinic
Springfield Clinic is a progressive, physician-led multi-specialty
medical group, devoted to providing the highest quality health care
to its patients. With more than 350 physicians and midlevel
providers, practicing in nearly 80 medical specialties and
sub-specialties, Springfield Clinic serves a population of nearly
1 million patients throughout the central Illinois region. As one
of the largest private, multi-specialty medical clinics in Illinois,
Springfield Clinic currently employs over 2,000 clinical and
administrative staff members, who are committed to leadership in
quality, service and technology. For more information, go to