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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

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Colorectal Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Significance


Genetic,[9] experimental, and epidemiologic [10] studies suggest that CRC results from complex interactions between inherited susceptibility and environmental or lifestyle factors. Efforts to identify causes led to the hypothesis that adenomatous polyps (adenomas) are precursors for the vast majority of CRCs.[11] In effect, measures that reduce the incidence and prevalence of adenomas may result in a subsequent decrease in the risk of CRCs;[12] however, some CRC mortality may be caused by fast-growing lesions and even lesions that do not pass through an adenomatous phase. Overall, the details of growth rates of adenomas and cancer are unknown; most likely there is a broad spectrum of growth patterns, including formation and spontaneous regression of adenomas.[13]


  1. Shike M, Winawer SJ, Greenwald PH, et al.: Primary prevention of colorectal cancer. The WHO Collaborating Centre for the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer. Bull World Health Organ 68 (3): 377-85, 1990.
  2. American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts and Figures 2014. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society, 2014. Available online. Last accessed May 21, 2014.
  3. Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al., eds.: SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2009 (Vintage 2009 Populations). Bethesda, Md: National Cancer Institute, 2012. Also available online. Last accessed May 21, 2014.
  4. Imperiale TF, Wagner DR, Lin CY, et al.: Results of screening colonoscopy among persons 40 to 49 years of age. N Engl J Med 346 (23): 1781-5, 2002.
  5. Fuchs CS, Giovannucci EL, Colditz GA, et al.: A prospective study of family history and the risk of colorectal cancer. N Engl J Med 331 (25): 1669-74, 1994.
  6. Smith RA, von Eschenbach AC, Wender R, et al.: American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer: update of early detection guidelines for prostate, colorectal, and endometrial cancers. Also: update 2001--testing for early lung cancer detection. CA Cancer J Clin 51 (1): 38-75; quiz 77-80, 2001 Jan-Feb.
  7. Levin B, Rozen P, Young GP: How should we follow up colorectal premalignant conditions? In: Rozen P, Young G, Levin B, et al.: Colorectal Cancer in Clinical Practice: Prevention, Early Detection, and Management. London, UK: Martin Dunitz, 2002, pp 67-76.
  8. Winawer SJ, Fletcher RH, Miller L, et al.: Colorectal cancer screening: clinical guidelines and rationale. Gastroenterology 112 (2): 594-642, 1997.
  9. Fearon ER, Vogelstein B: A genetic model for colorectal tumorigenesis. Cell 61 (5): 759-67, 1990.
  10. Young GP, Rozen P, Levin B: How does colorectal cancer develop? In: Rozen P, Young G, Levin B, et al.: Colorectal Cancer in Clinical Practice: Prevention, Early Detection, and Management. London, UK: Martin Dunitz, 2002, pp 23-37.
  11. Muto T, Bussey HJ, Morson BC: The evolution of cancer of the colon and rectum. Cancer 36 (6): 2251-70, 1975.
  12. Winawer SJ, Zauber AG, Ho MN, et al.: Prevention of colorectal cancer by colonoscopic polypectomy. The National Polyp Study Workgroup. N Engl J Med 329 (27): 1977-81, 1993.
  13. Loeve F, Boer R, Zauber AG, et al.: National Polyp Study data: evidence for regression of adenomas. Int J Cancer 111 (4): 633-9, 2004.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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