Colorectal Cancer

  • Cancer of the Left Descending Colon

    Cancer of the Left Descending Colon

    Colored x-ray of the abdomen (frontal) after a double contrast barium enema highlighting cancer of the left descending colon.

  • Large Tumor (Green Area)

    Large Tumor (Green Area)

    Colored x-ray of the colon highlighting a large tumor (green area), which is causing the narrowing of the large intestine with possible obstruction.

  • Sigmoid Colon Cancer

    Sigmoid Colon Cancer

    Colored x-ray of the large intestine of a patient with sigmoid colon cancer after a barium (white) enema. The tumor is highlighted in brown (left of center).

  • Histology


    Histology section of the colon under a light microscope confirming an adenocarcinoma, which developed from the glandular epithelial tissue of the colon.

  • Adenocarcinoma of the Rectum

    Adenocarcinoma of the Rectum

    Adenocarcinoma (pink, center) of the rectum seen with endoscopy. This tumor type is seen in 90% to 95% of all colorectal cancers, and develops from benign adenomatous polyps.

  • Adenocarcinoma (Pink, Left)

    Adenocarcinoma (Pink, Left)

    Adenocarcinoma (pink, left) of the rectum seen with endoscopy. This malignant tumor type begins as a benign polyp (abnormal tissue growth from the mucous lining of the colon), hence its reason for removal.

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Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer, and the 2nd most common cause of death in the United States. In 2012, there will be 103,170 new cases of colon cancer and 40,290 new cases of rectal cancer diagnosed. As a result, there will be over 51,000 deaths from colorectal cancer this year; most of which could have been prevented with early colonoscopy screening. The good news is that the death rate has been dropping over the past 20 years most probably due to early screening, polyp removal, and new colorectal cancer treatments.

The 2012 colorectal cancer screening guidelines recommend that screening for both men and women begin at age 50 years. For average risk individuals (based on personal history, family history, without abnormalities), screening could occur every 10 years with a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years; double-contrast barium enema every 5 years; or CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years.

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