Alternate Names : Colorectal Cancer
What can be done to prevent the disease?
Research findings show that eating a diet high in fiber and getting enough calcium can help prevent colorectal cancer. Use of aspirin and vitamin E are also associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Early diagnosis is key to preventing death from this disease. Starting at the age of 40, people should have yearly digital rectal exams and fecal occult blood tests. This screening allows early detection of colorectal polyps. These precancerous lesions can be removed before they turn into colorectal cancer.
Beginning at the age of 50, a person should have asigmoidoscopy every 3 to 5 years. A sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that allows a healthcare professional to look into the rectum and the sigmoid colon through a flexible scope.
More frequent or earlier screening may be needed for people who:
have a family history of colorectal cancer
have developed colorectal polyps. Polyps are removed during sigmoidoscopy to keep the polyps from becoming cancerous or to assess a person's future risk for cancer.
People who are at high risk for colorectal cancer because of family polyp syndrome or ulcerative colitis often choose to have the colon removed. This is called a colectomy.
What are the long-term effects of the disease?
People with Stage D cancer generally cannot be cured. They can survive for several weeks to a few years depending on the tumor's location and behavior. Home healthcare or hospice care may be helpful.
What are the risks to others?
Colorectal cancer is not contagious and poses no risk to others. However, it does tend to run in families.