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What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer forms in the tissues of the colon, which is the largest part of the intestine. Rectal cancer forms in the tissues of the rectum, which is the last several inches of the large intestine before the anus. Either of these cancers is called colorectal cancer. There are several screening procedures available that may detect colorectal cancer, however, a colonoscopy is the most thorough and complete examination of the entire colon and rectal anatomy.

Colon Polyps and Colon Cancer

Colon CancerA colon polyp is a growth of extra tissue in the lining of the bowel, colon or large intestine. While some can be cancerous, most are not. However, almost all cases of colon cancer begin as a polyp. Removing polyps early eliminates the chance that colon cancer will develop from those polyps.

Polyps generally do not cause symptoms and, therefore, the average person has no idea they may be present. Your individual medical history and family medical history, combined with any symptoms you may be experiencing, will help your physician determine an appropriate colon cancer screening program for you.

Screening is the number one way you can reduce your risk of colon cancer. Despite its high incidence, colon cancer is unique in that it is one of the most preventable and, if found early, most treatable forms of cancer. And the best part is, screening is easy! From colonoscopy to at-home stool tests, there’s an option for everyone. If you’re over 50, high risk or symptomatic, don’t put it off.