Cancer of the colon and the rectum (also called colorectal cancer or large bowel cancer) affects approximately 130,000 Americans and causes more than 45,000 deaths annually. Colorectal cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the United States. The cause of colon cancer is not entirely understood, but it appears that both hereditary and environmental factors play a role in its development.
It is clear that colorectal cancer can often be prevented through regular examinations to detect polyps, benign (non-cancerous) growths of the intestine lining that may develop into cancer. If polyps are found, they can be removed without surgery so they will never develop into cancer. And if colorectal cancer is diagnosed in its early stages, the latest medical and surgical treatments offer a good chance for a cure.
The Department of Gastroenterology’s Center for Colon Cancer and Polyps is at the forefront of colon cancer prevention through patient screening, education, detection and treatment. In conjunction with the Medical Genetics Program and the Department of Colorectal Surgery, the Center for Colon Cancer and Polyps offers a multi-specialty team approach to the assessment of family risk, genetic counseling and testing and treatment of polyps and cancer.