Approximately 100,000 cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year. It is the third most common cancer in the United States and most often occurs in people over the age of 50. Colorectal cancer (also known as colon or rectal cancer) develops when polyps, or small growths, develop inside the colon or rectum. Signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer typically include stomach pain, blood in stools, or a change in bowel habits.
Over the age of 50, screening for colorectal cancer is recommended as part of your annual physical. Screenings can include a colonoscopy, a procedure done in a clinic or hospital, or stool tests that can be done at home.
Fortunately, colorectal cancer rates continue to decrease as more people use colorectal cancer screening tests that allow for the detection and removal of colorectal polyps before they progress to cancer. Beginning at age 50, men and women of average risk for developing colorectal cancer should begin screening.