Colorectal cancer, or CRC, is the second deadliest cancer in the United States. Every March, National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month spotlights this disease and inspires more people to get checked starting at age 45. Two reasons why getting checked matters:
- Screening can find the warning signs of colon and rectal cancer, letting doctors take action to prevent the disease.
- Screening can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment is most effective.
One in 24 people will be diagnosed with CRC in their lifetime, but you can make a difference today. Learn about ways to build awareness, how to get support, and more below. Tomorrow can’t wait!
Top 10 Colorectal Cancer Facts
- In 2023, an estimated 153,020 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the U.S., and an estimated 52,550 will die — making this disease the second-leading cause of cancer deaths.
- The average lifetime risk of colorectal cancer is one in 24, and age is the biggest risk factor. Most cases are diagnosed in people over age 50.
- Unlike most cancers, colorectal cancer is highly preventable with screening. With early detection, it’s highly treatable. Localized colorectal cancer (the earliest stage) has a 91% survival rate with treatment.
- The most common symptom of colorectal cancer is no symptom. When symptoms are present, they include blood in or on stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, and unexplained weight loss.
- Black/African Americans have the highest mortality rate and second-highest incidence rate of colorectal cancer in the U.S. Black Americans are both 35% more likely to die from colorectal cancer and 20% more likely to develop it than non-Hispanic whites.
- The incidence rate of young-onset colorectal cancer is rising. In people under 50 years old, the incidence rate is increasing by 1.5% every year. According to the latest data, colorectal cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men aged 20–49 years.
- Colorectal cancer screening should begin at age 45. Screening is the No. 1 way to prevent colorectal cancer. Still, a third of eligible adults is not getting screened. In late 2020, the CDC estimated that 68% of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if all eligible people were screened. Members of the public can get a free screening recommendation based on personal risk factors at quiz.getscreened.org.
- People who have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, offspring) with colorectal cancer have two to three times the risk of developing the disease. They should speak to a doctor about getting screened earlier than normal.
- Simple ways to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer include eating healthy, not smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting red meat intake, and adding calcium and vitamin D to your diet.
- There are more than 1.5 million colorectal cancer survivors in the U.S.
Click here to learn more about how St. Mary’s can help with your screening needs!