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Canadian Cancer Society

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Canada Resources Colorectal cancer (CRC)

Rectal cancer

What causes colorectal cancer?

There is no single cause of colorectal cancer, but some factors appear to increase the risk of developing it:

  • age – particularly after 50
  • polyps – small growths on the inner wall of the colon and rectum
  • family history
  • diet
  • obesity
  • physical inactivity
  • heavy alcohol consumption
  • living with inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • smoking

A family history of colorectal cancer in close relatives (parents, siblings or children) increases risk, especially if the relatives developed cancer before the age of 45. A condition that runs in families called Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) also increases risk. People in families with FAP or with a large number of colorectal cancer cases are often monitored closely so that cancer will be diagnosed early if it develops.


Researchers are also looking at how diet affects the risk of developing colorectal cancer. A diet high in vegetables and fruit is known to lower risk. A diet high in fibre and low in animal fats also seems to decrease risk, but more research is necessary to be sure.

Some people develop colorectal cancer without any of these risk factors

There are many different kinds of cancer I will be linking to a few of them right now it is be aware of breast cancer & I want you to check into Canadian Cancer Society, research and treatments.

What is colorectal cancer?

Most colorectal cancer starts in the cells that line the inside of the colon or the rectum. The colon and rectum are part of your digestive system, where food is changed into energy and the body rids itself of waste matter. 


The colon (known as the large bowel or large intestine) joins the small intestine to the rectum. Food moves from the stomach to the small intestine, where your body continues to break it down. When food is completely digested, it moves from the small intestine into the colon, where water is removed. The last part of the colon is known as the rectum. This is where waste is stored. When you have a bowel movement, waste leaves the body through the opening called the anus. 


Cancer of the small intestine is very rare, so when people talk about bowel cancer, they usually mean colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer for both men and women in Canada






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