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Colorectal cancer is a condition where malignant cells are found in the colon or rectum. Because colon cancer and rectal cancer have many features in common, they are sometimes referred to together as colorectal cancer. Dr. Ananthram Reddy, a Sharp-affiliated gastroenterologist, answers a few questions below about the disease, including why it’s so important to have regular screenings.
How common is colorectal cancer?
Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in men and women in the U.S. However, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been going down for the past 15 years, and this can be attributed to fewer cases due to increased screenings and polyp removal.
What causes colorectal cancer?
It’s difficult to understand the exact cause of many colorectal cancers, but the cause of the disease can most likely be linked to known risk factors such as age, diet, polyps, personal history, family history and obesity.
Who is at a higher-than-average risk of colorectal cancer?
People with a first degree of family history — mother, father, brother, sister or even an adult child — are at greater risk for cancer. A history of ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease, and certain genetic syndromes also increase one’s chances.
How important are screenings in reducing risk?
Research shows that screenings significantly reduce risk and incidence of colon cancer. It can’t be overemphasized.
What else can I do to help reduce my risk of colorectal cancer?
While the exact cause of colorectal cancer is not known, it is possible to help prevent many colon cancers with the following:
Find a San Diego Oncologist
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego oncologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.