Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum and is sometimes referred to as colon cancer, for short. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. Despite it being the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both men and women, the death rate from colon cancer continues to drop. This can likely be attributed to an increased emphasis on screening and early detection, as well as advances in treatment. As a result, there are now more than 1.5 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States.
While anyone can develop colon cancer, it’s most commonly seen in adults over the age of 50. Reducing your risk of colon cancer, and increasing your likelihood of survival if affected, starts with early detection and education. Read on or skip to our infographic to get the statistics behind those at risk for colon cancer and recovery rates.
Table of Contents:
A person’s family history, ethnicity, and age can put them at higher risk for colon cancer. While anyone can get colon cancer, it is most common among Black individuals, men, and those over the age of 50.
A cancer’s stage is critical for determining treatment options and assessing prognosis. Those who are able to identify colorectal cancer sooner can reduce the risk of cancer cells spreading to different areas of the body, and can increase their chance of recovery.
Regular screening is essential for early detection, but it’s also important to pay attention to your body. If you experience unusual symptoms such as bleeding from the rectum, abdominal discomfort, blood in the stool, dark or black stools, or any change in bowel habits, it is recommended you see your healthcare provider.
Treatment for colorectal cancer has advanced over the past several decades due to improvements in imaging, surgical techniques, and chemotherapy. That said, millions of people are still affected by colon cancer each year — it’s estimated that 53,200 individuals will succumb to colorectal cancer this year. However, treatment outcomes are influenced by tumor characteristics and stage at diagnosis. With this in mind, it’s best to get screened regularly for colon cancer, as this can help identify precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum or find colorectal cancer early when treatment may be more successful.
Regular screening starting at age 50 is key for colorectal cancer prevention. However, you may need to begin screening earlier if you have a family history of colon cancer or have an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Regular screening is important for early detection and increasing your chance of recovery, should you be diagnosed with colon cancer. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you're over the age of 50, or you’re experiencing signs or symptoms, screening for colon cancer is an easy way to test for the presence of blood in your stool, which can help detect colon cancer early on. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your healthcare provider about your risk for colorectal cancer and what screening method may be best for you.