Type Of Cancer

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Colorectal cancer begins when healthy cells in the lining of the colon or rectum change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor means the tumor can grow but will not spread. These changes usually take years to develop. However, when a person has an uncommon inherited syndrome (see Risk Factors and Prevention), changes can occur within months to years. Both genetic and environmental factors can cause the changes.

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