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Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, but it’s also one of the most preventable types of cancer. And screening techniques have come a long way, making it easier than ever to detect colorectal cancer in its early stages, when treatment is most effective.

If you’re 50 or older, it's important to get screened. If you're African-American, suffer from inflammatory bowel disease or have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be screened earlier. If you’re under 50, you can lower your risk through lifestyle changes.

What is colorectal cancer?
The colon and rectum combine to form the large intestine. The colon is a muscular tube about 5 feet long that absorbs water and stores food waste. The rectum makes up the last 6 inches of the large intestine. Both the colon and rectum are made up of millions of cells. Changes in these cells can lead to small growths called polyps, which can over time turn into cancer.

Cancer that forms in the colon is called colon cancer. Cancer that forms in the rectum is called rectal cancer. Because these cancers are so similar, they are often referred to together as colorectal cancer.

Learn more about colorectal cancer.

Treatment for colorectal cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation – or a combination of these. The cancer specialists at Vidant Health will work quickly to diagnose and stage your condition and develop a customized treatment plan based on your specific case.

What can I do?
If you’re 50 or older, it's important to get screened, even if you have no symptoms. If you're African-American, have a family history of colorectal cancer or suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, talk to your doctor about starting screenings at an earlier age.

During a screening colonoscopy, polyps can be found and removed with very little discomfort. The procedure has come a long way, thanks to easier prep and advanced technology. Fortunately, many health insurance plans and Medicare cover most of the cost.

Learn more about screenings.

If you’re under 50, you can lower your risk through lifestyle changes such as:

  • Getting to or maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding excess alcohol and all forms of tobacco
  • Limiting red meat and processed meats
  • Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables

Take our free risk assessment

Still have questions?

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on these pages, we’re here to help you with the answers you need. We’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Contact us

Physicians and providers

JORGE ABDALLAH, MD
Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital

HYDER ARASTU, MD
Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center

gohar arslan, md
Vidant Chowan Hospital
The Outer Banks Hospital/Cancer Resource Center

prashanti atluri, md
Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center

Randy Blackburn, do
Onslow Radiation Oncology

nicole davia, pa-c
Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center

Timothy fitzgerald, md
Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center

michael hopkins, md
Vidant Chowan Hospital

john inzerillo, md
Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center

Sri Jasthy, md
Vidant Duplin Hospital
Vidant Edgecombe Hospital

PUNAM PUNJA, PA
Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center

charles knupp, md
Vidant Duplin Hospital
Vidant Edgecombe Hospital

CLINTON LEINWEBER, do
Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center

DARLA LILES, MD
Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital

robert mclaurin, md
Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center

mahvish muzaffar, md
Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center

Charles Shelton, md
The Outer Banks Hospital/Cancer Resource Center

LESLIE ST. ROYAL, MD
Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital

NASREEN VOHRA, MD
Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center

EMMANUEL ZERVOS, MD
Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center