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Patient Education

The importance of Early Detection

With the proper screening tests, colorectal cancer can be found early. This is also when treatment is most effective. Quite often, colorectal cancer can be prevented by detecting and removing polyps during the colonoscopy screening. If cancer is already present, the earlier detection often increases the chance for a better outcome.

When colon cancer is detected early, it is generally local to the rectum and colon and over 90% of those diagnosed survive more than five years.
Once the cancer is detected in the surrounding tissue, it has already spread regionally and the survival rate drops to 66.5%.
When the cancer has spread to distant sites, less than 9.0% of those diagnosed will survive more than five years.
The majority of new cases (90%) are found in people 50 or older. However, colorectal cancer can and does happen to men and women at any age, ethnicity and background.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the US. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 153,750 new cases and 49,920 deaths are expected in 2009. About 72% of cases arise in the colon and about 28% in the rectum.