Colon cancer (also called colorectal or bowel cancer) is the third most diagnosed cancer in the world. The disease is characterized by the abnormal growth of cells/tissue within the large intestine (colon). Most often, the disease starts out as polyps (fleshy growths) within the colon. The polyps can be benign (noncancerous), premalignant, or malignant (cancerous). Malignant polyps (stage 0 cancer) have a very high cure rate. If the cancer is confined to the wall of the large intestine (stage 1 or 2), it can be cured with a 90-percent survival rate after five years. As the cancer extends into the lymph nodes (stage 3) and to other sites (stage 4), the survival rate after five years drops to about seven percent.