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Colorectal Cancer What is colorectal cancer? The term "colorectal" refers to the colon and the rectum, which together make up the large intestine. Colorectal cancer can originate anywhere in the large intestine. What causes colorectal cancer? The exact cause of most colorectal cancers in unknown. However, research has shown that approximately 75% of colorectal cancers occur in people with no known risk factors. What are the risk factors for colorectal cancer? Risk factors include: a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's disease, genetic syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary nonpolyposis. Who should be tested for colorectal cancer? All men and women aged 50 years or older should be routinely tested for colorectal cancer. Those who are at risk for colorectal cancer should also be tested routinely. What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer? In the initial stages, colorectal cancer shows few, if any, symptoms. As the cancer progresses, symptoms may include blood in or on stool, a change in bowel habits, narrow stool, general, unexplained stomach discomfort, frequent gas, pains, or indigestion, chronic fatigue. How are people tested for colorectal cancer? Colorectal cancer testing, also called screening, includes the fecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and/or double contrast barium enema LifeART Collection Images Copyright © 1989-2001 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD Infiltrating