Colorectal cancer is cancer that affects the large intestine (also known as the colon) or the rectum. The word "colorectal" is just a shortened way of saying colon and rectal.
Colorectal cancer can be serious. But there are many ways to treat it.
Yes, there are a few tests that can find colorectal cancer. Your doctor or nurse can explain your choices.
If your doctor or nurse thinks you have colorectal cancer, he or she will probably suggest a test called a “colonoscopy.” During a colonoscopy, the doctor inserts a tube and a tiny camera into your anus and up to your colon. That way he or she can look for cancer or other problems.
Colorectal cancer might not cause any symptoms at first. When it does cause symptoms, it can cause:
Most types of colorectal cancer are treated with one or more of these:
That depends on what type of surgery you have. If your doctor can reconnect your colon or rectum after removing the part with cancer, you should be able to have bowel movements normally. But if your doctor cannot reconnect your colon or rectum, he or she will make a hole in your belly and attach the end of the colon or a loop of intestine to that hole. The hole is called a “colostomy.” Your bowel movements will come out through the opening into a bag that is glued to your skin.
Some people need to have a colostomy only for a short time. Then they can have another surgery to reconnect their colon or rectum. Other people need to have a colostomy for the rest of their life. If you need a colostomy, your doctor or nurse will put you in touch with people who can help you learn to use it.
After you finish treatment, you should see your doctor every so often for a few years. That way he or she can check to see if the cancer comes back. You will probably have to have blood tests every so often, a few more colonoscopy tests and a “CT scan.”