Fast Facts About Colorectal Cancer
Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer—cancer of the colon or rectum—is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. In 2009, 51,848 people in the United States died of colorectal cancer (26,806 men and 25,042 women).1*
Colorectal cancer also is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. In 2009, 136,717 people in the United States were diagnosed with it (70,223 men and 66,494 women), making colorectal cancer the third most common cancer in men and in women.1
Colorectal cancer screeningColorectal cancer screening is recommended for men and women beginning at age 50. (Men and women who think they may be at higher than average risk for this cancer should ask their doctors about getting screened earlier than age 50.)
Screening for colorectal cancer helps prevent this disease. Screening can find precancerous polyps (abnormal growths), so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening also finds colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.
While screening rates have increased in the U.S., not enough people are getting screened for colorectal cancer—
- As of 2008, 62.9% of adults aged 50–75 years were screened as recommended. In 2002, only 51.9% of Americans were screened as recommended.2
- While screening rates continue to rise in the U.S., 22 million people are still not up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening.2
*Incidence counts cover approximately 90% of the U.S. population; death counts cover approximately 100% of the U.S. population. Use caution when comparing incidence and death counts.
1U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2009 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/uscs. (full site)
2Richardson LC, Rim SH, Plescia M. Vital Signs: Colorectal cancer screening among adults aged 50–75 years—United States, 2008. MMWR 2010;59(26):808–812.
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