Cancer is a class of diseases characterized by out-of-control cell growth, and colon cancer forms when this uncontrolled cell growth initiates with cells in the large intestine. Most colon cancers originate from small, noncancerous (benign) tumors called adenomatous polyps that form on the inner walls of the large intestine. Some of these polyps may grow into malignant colon cancers over time if they are not removed during colonoscopy. Colon cancer cells will invade and damage healthy tissue that is near the tumor causing many complications.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the USA. The American Cancer Society estimates that 136,830 Americans will be diagnosed with the disease this year and that 50,310 will die from it. The American Cancer Society has set a goal of screening 80% of eligible people by 2018.

Colon cancer rates have fallen by 30% over the past decade in people over age 50, and colonoscopies are getting much of the credit.  It is recommended that people at average risk begin getting screened for colon cancer at age 50 and African Americans at age 45.  Individuals with a family history of colon cancer should discuss with a medical provider when to begin screening.  Our goal is to remove adenomatous polyps during colonoscopy to prevent them from progressing to cancer.