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Rectal cancer

Related Terms

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Background

  • Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), which is the lower part of the digestive system. Rectal cancer occurs on the last eight to 10 inches of the colon. They are often referred to together as colorectal cancers, and are the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.
  • The rectum is part of the body's digestive system. The digestive system removes and processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from foods and helps pass waste material out of the body. The digestive system is made up of the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines. The first six feet of the large intestine are called the large bowel or colon. The last six inches are the rectum and the anal canal. The anal canal ends at the anus (the opening of the large intestine to the outside of the body).
  • The incidence of colorectal cancer is slightly higher in men than women, and is highest in African American men. The incidence of colorectal cancer is highest in developed countries such as the United States and Japan, and lowest in developing countries such as Africa and Asia. This is in part due to dietary differences, such as consumption of more red meats in developed countries.
  • The estimated number of new cases and deaths from colon and rectal cancer in the United States in 2007 are as follows: new cases: 112,340 (colon); 41,420 (rectal); deaths: 52,180 (colon and rectal combined).
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Risk Factors

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Causes

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Signs and Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.