Colorectal Cancer Information
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US. The American Cancer Society estimated for 2003 about 105,500 new cases of colon cancer and 42,000 new cases of rectal cancer in the United States which combined will cause approximately 57,100 deaths. Both types of cancer are often referred to as colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer begins to develop in the gastrointestinal system. After food has passed through the stomach, where it is partly digested, it moves into the intestinal tract, the small and large intestines. Some of the food is absorbed in the small intestine, which is about 20 feet long, and then passed into the large intestinal tract, the colon, which is about 5 feet long, where the food is further absorbed but where waste is stored as well. The waste moves from the colon into the rectum, and then leaves the body.
The colon has four sections. Cancerous cells can develop in the inner layer of tissues lining the walls of any of the four sections as well as in the rectum. Before cancerous cells develop, polyps, which are a growth of tissue, appear.
Almost all colon cancer cases develop from these polyps.
Early detection of colon cancer is vital. The chances of survival are greatest if treatment begins at an early stage. If treated early survival rates exceed 90%.
The earliest phases of the cancer can be detected by testing for blood in the stool. By performing a fecal occult blood test, you can increase your chances of detecting polyps before they turn cancerous.
Blood in stool does not necessarily indicate the presence of colon cancer. A positive test could also be caused by hemorrhoids, colitis (an inflamed colon) or diverticulitis (an inflammation in the digestive tract) among other disorders.
On the other hand, a single negative test result should not be used as an absolute indicator that there is not a problem. About 25% of colon tumors release blood on an irregular basis. By testing yourself regularly tumors which bleed intermittently can be detected sooner than with sporadic testing.
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly fecal occult blood testing for everyone above the age of 50 (and younger if a hereditary condition exists).
To be on the safe side, you may want to consider testing yourself more than once a year.
With ColonCARE, testing is quick and easy. The test can be performed at any time and there are no dietary restrictions. Test results are available within 5 minutes.
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