Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

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Finding colorectal cancer early

Colorectal cancer is often found after symptoms appear, most people with early colon or rectal cancer have no symptoms of the disease. Symptoms usually appear only with more advanced disease. This is why getting the recommended screening tests (as described in the section “Colorectal cancer screening tests”) before any symptoms develop is so important.

Regular screening can often find colorectal cancer early, when it is most likely to be curable. In many cases, screening can also prevent colorectal cancer altogether. This is because some polyps, or growths, can be found and removed before they have the chance to turn into cancer.

If your doctor finds something suspicious during a screening exam, or if you have any of the symptoms of colorectal cancer described in the section “Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer,” your doctor will probably recommend exams and test to find the cause.

Last Medical Review: 08/05/2013
Last Revised: 06/06/2014