Most colorectal cancer arises slowly from an adenomatous polyp over 7 to 15 years. Incidence and mortality rates have been decreasing due to screening for, and subsequent removal of, polyps via colonoscopy. Most are adenocarcinomas. Risk factors for developing colorectal cancer include family history of cancer or polyps, inherited conditions (such as familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary nonpolyposis), diet, age, inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), and a personal history of polyps. A prior history of colorectal cancer increases the risk of other colon tumors.
The prognosis worsens as deeper layers of the colon wall are invaded. Staging of colorectal cancer is based on invasion through these layers and on any spread to other tissues, and is given per the TNM system.
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