Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the U.S., but if detected early, it has a very high survival rate.


Dr. Ziad Kronfol, colorectal surgeon at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital, says finding the cancer as early as possible by scheduling a screening test is essential to preventing it from developing into a potentially deadly condition.


“Through screening tests such as colonoscopy, polyps can be found and removed before they become cancerous,” Kronfol said. “Colorectal cancer generally develops from polyps in the colon or rectum. If a cancer is found during screening, the earlier it is found the greater the chance it can be surgically removed laparoscopically with small incisions.”


While screening methods are readily available and reliable, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration, fewer than half of adults age 50 and older get the recommended screenings.


The American Cancer Society and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend colorectal cancer screening for men and women at average risk beginning at age 45 and continuing until age 75. Continuing beyond this age should be considered on an individual patient basis.


“Your doctor will be able to advise you on the proper screening schedule for you,” Kronfol said. “People at an increased risk for developing colorectal cancer should discuss screening earlier and may require more frequent tests.”


Risk Factors

The exact causes of colorectal cancer are unknown. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, certain factors increase your risk of developing the disease. Those factors include:


• Age. Most people who develop colorectal cancer are over age 50.

• Polyps (abnormal growths that protrude from the inner wall of the colon or rectum). While most polyps are noncancerous, the majority of colorectal cancers develop from polyps.

• Personal history of colorectal cancer. Women who have had ovarian, uterine or breast cancer also have a higher risk.

• Family history of colorectal cancer.

• Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease

• Diet. Eating a lot of red and processed meats and not many whole grains, fruits and vegetables may increase risk.

• Sedentary lifestyle

• Smoking



Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital is open and caring for all of our community and has implemented the following enhanced safety measures in all of its doctors’ offices and clinics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the health and well-being of our patients:


•Screening all patients to ensure only those without COVID-19 symptoms are seen in office when scheduling appointments

•Minimizing the number of patients we are seeing per day in our clinics by expanding virtual services and staggering in-person appointments

•Using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended testing for our employees

•Screening all patients upon arrival with temperature checks and an exposure questionnaire

•Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) while providing patient care

•Reorganizing waiting rooms and check-in lines to ensure social distancing

•Implementing additional sanitation processes to disinfect all equipment and surfaces


For more information and to schedule an appointment with a colorectal cancer specialist at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital, visit, or call 832.556.6046.