What is the disease?
Colon and rectal cancer develop in the digestive tract, which is also called the gastrointestinal, or GI, tract. The digestive system processes food for energy and rids the body of solid waste matter (fecal matter or stool). Colon cancer and rectal cancer have many features in common. Sometimes they are referred to together as colorectal cancer.
Over 95% of colorectal cancers are ad enocarcinomas. These are cancers of the glandular cells that line the inside of the colon and rectum. Other, less common type of tumors may also develop in the colon and rectum. Carcinoid tumors develop from hormone-producing cells of the intestine. Gastrointestinal stromal tumors develop in the connective tissue …show more content…
Many of these patients live much longer than 5 years after diagnosis, and 5-year rates are used to produce a standard way of discussing prognosis. Five-year relative survival rates exclude from the calculation patients dying of other diseases, and are considered a more accurate way to describe the prognosis for patients with a particular type and stage of cancer. Of course, 5-year rates are based on patients diagnosed and initially treated more than 5 years ago. Improvements in treatment often result in a more favorable outlook for recently diagnosed patients.
What populations are susceptible to this disease?
Researchers have identified several risk factors that increase a person's chance of developing colorectal cancer. A family history of colorectal cancer: Relatives of colorectal cancer patients are also at increased risk for developing this disease. Some of these families may have a colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). Colorectal cancer may also seem to run in some families that do not have one of these syndromes. Accurate identification of people with these syndromes is important because their doctors will recommend specific measures to prevent cancer or find it as early as possible, when treatment is most successful. Some doctors recommend that all people with colorectal cancer have an