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Colon Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer related death in the United States

How common is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2019 are:

  • 101,420 new cases of colon cancer
  • 44,180 new cases of rectal cancer

Lifetime risk of colorectal cancer

Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is: about 1 in 22 (4.49%) for men and 1 in 24 (4.15%) for women. This risk is slightly lower in women than in men. A number of other factors (described in Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors) can also affect your risk for developing colorectal cancer.

Deaths from colorectal cancer

In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and in women, and the second most common cause of cancer deaths when men and women are combined. It’s expected to cause about 51,020 deaths during 2019.

The death rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 people per year) from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for several decades. There are a number of likely reasons for this. One is that colorectal polyps are now being found more often by screening and removed before they can develop into cancers or are being found earlier when the disease is easier to treat. In addition, treatment for colorectal cancer has improved over the last few decades. As a result, there are now more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States. Although the overall death rate has continued to drop, deaths from colorectal cancer among people younger than age 55 have increased 1% per year from 2007 and 2016.

Hopeful Figures & Facts about Colon Cancer

While the above figures and facts may sound a bit scary there are a lot of good figures and fact that you should be aware of. Colon cancer is beatable in 90% of cases when detected early, and with appropriate screening, often entirely preventable (screening can find precancerous polyps so that they can be removed before turning into cancer).

  • In March 2014, American Cancer Society released data showing colon cancer incidence rates have dropped 30% in the U.S. in the last 10 years among adults ages 50 and older due to the widespread uptake of colonoscopy, with the largest decrease occurring in those ages 65 and older. source
  • In January of 2013, the American Cancer Society reported a 30% decrease in the mortality rate for colorectal cancer.
  • There has been a decline in lives lost to cancer (1991 to 2009) and we have seen a 30% decrease in the mortality rate for colorectal cancer.
  • The likelihood of dying from colorectal cancer has been decreasing due to screening.
  • There are more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States.
  • Over 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be avoided with screening.
  • The CDC created the Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP) and provided the necessary funds to establish colorectal cancer programs in 25 states and 4 tribes across the United States.
  • The Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign launched in 1999 to encourages men and women aged 50 years or older to be screened regularly for colorectal cancer.

50 or above? The time for a colonoscopy is now.

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Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio (GCSA) was established in 1978 and has grown into one of the largest private GI practices in Texas. We have 23 board-certified gastroenterologists on staff, and every single one is dedicated to providing you comprehensive, compassionate and individualized digestive and liver care.

Source: American Cancer Society
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