Most cases of Colorectal cancer arise from polyps, which are precancerous fleshy growths from the lining of the colon. The progression from polyps into cancer is believed to take 5 to 10 years, allowing a wide window of opportunity for intervention. Screening and removing these polyps is the most effective way to prevent colon cancer.
For most of the population, age is the biggest predictor of colorectal cancer. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals begin screening at an age dependant on the patient’s level of risk, with high-risk patients beginning screening at a lower age. In cases where there is a strong family history, genetic testing may be offered to see if the patient is at high risk. In very rare cases, such as patients with FAP, there are too many polyps to remove and a colectomy is discussed.
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