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About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a disease in which normal cells in the lining of the colon or rectum begin to change, start to grow uncontrollably and no longer die.

These changes usually take years to develop; however, in some cases of hereditary disease, changes can occur within months to years. Both genetic and environmental factors can cause the changes.

Initially, the cell growth appears as a benign (noncancerous) polyp that can, over time, become a cancerous tumor. If not treated or removed, a polyp can become a potentially life-threatening cancer. Recognizing and removing precancerous polyps before they become cancer can prevent colorectal cancer.

Last updated: 2/26/2010 10:02:19 AM