Colorectal cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the colon or rectum. Dr. Patel, can you tell us about colorectal cancer?
Certainly, Dr. Mansfield. Most colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas. Adenocarcinomas arise from glandular mucus-producing cells, which are part of the inner lining, or mucosal surface, of the colon. These cancers usually start out as small benign growths, or polyps, of the mucosal surface, but can grow and eventually become malignant. The amount of time required for this transformation varies from less than one year to several years.
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer diagnosed in the United States. Fortunately, regular screening, typically with colonoscopy, can identify precancerous colon polyps before they become cancer, allowing them to be easily removed. Even when cancer has already developed, screening with colonoscopy can allow diagnosis at early stages when survival rates are highest.