The Duke Cancer Institute is dedicated to helping prevent colorectal cancer as well as treat it.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States. An estimated 106,700 people are diagnosed with colon cancer and 42,000 with rectal cancer in the United States each year. An estimated 55,000 Americans are expected to die from both this year.
In almost all cases, however, this disease is entirely treatable if caught early by colonoscopy.
Certain risk factors may make some people more likely to develop colorectal cancer. The Hereditary Cancer Clinic offers genetic counseling for patients who are concerned about a family history or genetic trait that may make them more prone to developing the disease.
Incidence rates for colorectal cancer have declined slightly over the past 20 years and research suggests that may be due to increased screening and removal of polyps, which are growths that can progress to cancer.
Having regular colonoscopies is the most effective way to find and treat colon cancer early, when treatment is most effective.
In addition to providing regular screening for colon cancer through conventional colonoscopies, Duke abdominal imagers have pioneered a simpler, less invasive screening method called "virtual colonoscopy.” This method uses a computed tomography (CT) scanner to look at the colon, rather than a scope. Use of this procedure is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Learn how to make an appointment at the Duke Cancer Institute.