CRC as the third most common cancer and the second most common cause of death from cancer for both men and women.
Yet CRC is a highly treatable cancer if it is detected early and it is up to 95 per cent preventable with timely and thorough testing or "CRC screening". Unfortunately as it stands today, nearly half of those diagnosed find out too late.
The majority of CRCs begin as benign growths in the lining of the colon called adenomatous polyps. Over the years, these polyps grow in size and number, thereby increasing the risk that the cells in the polyps will become cancerous. Timely removal of these growths - easily done during a colonoscopy - will prevent CRC from developing. It is important to identify and remove these polyps as soon as possible.
Polyp removal is usually done during a colonoscopy and the patient is sedated during the procedure. Recovery is very quick and usually pain-free. Polyps are sent for a biopsy and tested for any malignancies.
Note: Many people diagnosed with CRC never had any symptoms or early warning signs. Above are the most common signs of CRC, but it is important to note that the symptoms are not unique to CRC - check with your doctor if you suspect a problem.
There is no "single cause" for developing CRC, but there some people who are considered to be at higher risk than the general population for CRC include:
If you are at higher risk, you should talk to your doctor about being screened as soon as possible.
The possibility of a diagnosis of advanced CRC in patients in their 40s is not uncommon and CRC has been seen in patients in their 20s. If you are concerned, get screened - there is not a health advantage to inaction.