What is colorectal cancer?

Any cancer – a growth, lump, tumor – of the colon and the rectum is a type of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is also known as bowel cancer. The UK National Health Service says colorectal cancer is the most common cancer globally today. However, the World Health Organization says it is the second most common cancer, after lung cancer. A US study found that incidence rates among adults younger than age 50 years are increasing.

Colorectal cancer rates are increasing worldwide, according to this article.

A colorectal cancer may be benign or malignant. Benign means the tumor will not spread, while a malignant tumor consists of cells that can spread to other parts of the body and damage them.

What is the colon? What is the rectum?

The colon and rectum belong to our body’s digestive system – together they are also known as the large bowel.

The colon reabsorbs large quantities of water and nutrients from undigested food products as they pass along it.

The rectum is at the end of the colon and stores feces (stools, waste material) before being expelled from the body.