colon cancer

What’s the difference between precancer and cancer?

Before colon cancer develops, an abnormal growth called a polyp usually develops on the inner lining of the large intestine or rectum. Polyps are common and begin as noncancerous growths, but some can turn into cancer over time.

The earlier colon cancer is found, the easier it is to treat. This is why regular screening is worthwhile—it has the potential to save lives.


If found early, colon cancer is highly treatable2:

  • Stage I = 94%* survival rate
  • Stage II = 82%* survival rate
  • Stage III = 67%* survival rate
  • Stage IV = 11%* survival rate

*Based on a 5-year survival rate.

To learn more about the stages of colon cancer, click here.

  1. Yang, D. X., Gross, C. P., Soulos, P. R. and Yu, J. B. (2014), Estimating the magnitude of colorectal cancers prevented during the era of screening. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28794
  2. Lansdorp-Vogelaar I, van Ballegooijen M, Zauber AG, Habbema J, Kuipers EJ. Effect of rising chemotherapy costs on the cost savings of colorectal cancer screening. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009;101:1412-22.

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