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Stanford Cancer Center supports Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Colon Cancer
Awareness Month

Colon cancer (or "colorectal cancer") is one of the most common cancers in the United States. But with preventive screenings and early detection, it doesn’t have to be. Stanford doctors offer patients the latest screening techniques, allowing for the early detection of colon cancer. Patients who are diagnosed receive the most advanced treatments—from minimally invasive surgery to targeted therapies—from a dedicated team of cancer specialists. If you’re over 50, getting screened for colon cancer is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of getting colon cancer.

  • What is colon cancer?

    According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the US. A person has a 1 in 20 (5%) change of developing colorectal cancer in their lifetime.

    Colon cancer is cancer (malignant cells) that begins in the colon, a part of the large intestine. Cancer that begins in the rectum is called rectal cancer. Because colon and rectal cancers have many shared features, they are usually referred to as colorectal cancer.

  • How can I prevent colon cancer?

    There is really no way to know for sure if you're going to get colorectal cancer. Learn about risk factors for colon cancer.

    Screenings can find colon cancer early when it is most likely to be treated successfully and can also prevent it from developing by removing polyps or growths before they can turn into cancer. Several tests are used to screen for colorectal cancer; the most common screening test is a colonoscopy. Learn about how you can lower your risk for colorectal cancer.

  • What is a colonoscopy?

    A colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a colonoscope (a long, flexible tube with a built-in camera) to look inside the rectum and colon for polyps, abnormal areas, or cancer. The colonoscope allows the doctor to see the lining of the colon and remove tissue for further examination. Learn about commonly used screening tests commonly used for colon cancer and new screening tests available via clinical trial. Learn about other commonly used tests for colon cancer and new screening tests available via clinical trial.

  • How can I make an appointment?

    Colonoscopies are provided by the Stanford Digestive Health Center. If you are new to Stanford, call the Digestive Health Center at 650-736-5555 to schedule your appointment. Existing patients can login to myHealth to schedule an appointment.

Know Your Genetic History

Hereditary cancer accounts for 5-10% of colorectal cancers.

You may be at higher risk for hereditary colorectal cancer if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You had colon or uterine cancer diagnosed at age 45 or younger.
  • You had 2 colon cancers or colon AND uterine cancer at any age.
  • You have 2 close relatives with colon cancer; one diagnosed at 50 years old or younger.
  • You have 3 close relatives with colorectal and/or uterine cancer at any age.
  • You or a close relative have been clinically diagnosed with polyposis.

Spotlight Videos

On Colon Cancer View »
Uri Ladabaum, MD, a colon cancer specialist, discusses colon cancer risks, symptoms, and treatment options.

On Preventing Colon Cancer View »
George Fisher, MD, PhD, discusses colorectal cancer prevention.

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