Colon cancer and rectal cancer are referred to as colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second most common form of cancer. In Finland, 3500 persons contract colorectal cancer every year. Colon cancer and rectal cancer have become more common in Finland in the course of the last fifty years and the number of patients is anticipated to increase further mainly as a result of the fact that our population is aging.
Early treatment of the disease is a crucial success factor. Colorectal cancer normally develops from adenoma, non-malignant polypus, and therefore it would be most important to be able to identify and remove the disorder before it turns malignant. For this purpose, screenings for all men and women within the age group 60-69 years have been initiated in Finland.
The medical causes of colon cancer and rectal cancer have not yet been specified in detail. The estimation is, however, that more than half of all colorectal cancer cases could have been avoided by way of changed diet, increased exercise and overweight control. People suffering from long-term inflammatory colon disorders run an above average risk of contracting colon and rectal cancers. Hereditary predisposition is also possible.