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Article originally published March 3, 2021. Updated February 13, 2024.  

Colorectal cancer – sometimes referred to individually as colon cancer or rectal cancer – encompasses any cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. Most colorectal cancers start as polyps, small growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Depending on the type of polyp, these growths can sometimes transform into cancerous cells over time (usually years).

The best way to catch colorectal cancer in the early stages – when it’s most treatable – is through routine colonoscopies, which monitors for the polyps that may eventually change into cancer.

Around 1 in 25 people will develop colon cancer during their lifetime.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men and women in the United States – but the good news is that it’s also one of the most preventable.

Family history matters.

People with a parent, sibling or child who has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer are at an increased risk than those without a family history. As many as 1 in 3 people who develop colorectal cancer have other family members who have had it.

It is recommended that men and women begin routine colorectal cancer screening at age 45.

Rates of colon cancer are on the rise in men and women under 50. Early detection significantly increases survival rates.

There are currently more than 1.5 million colorectal cancer survivors in the United States.

The colorectal cancer survival rate has been improving in recent years – likely due to increased screening and improved treatments.

Early detection saves lives.

Routine screening is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer. If you’re age 45 or older, talk to your healthcare provider about screening for colorectal cancer.

Financial resources are available.

Are you uninsured or underinsured? Fairfield Medical Center offers financial assistance for colorectal cancer screening to those who qualify. Call 740-687-8134 to learn more.


If you or a loved one is over the age of 45 or has a family history of cancer, call 740-687-8863 or talk to your healthcare provider about a screening today. To learn more about colorectal cancer and FMC’s cancer care services, click here.

Source: American Cancer Society