Facts and Stats

Looking for facts about colon cancer & rectal cancer? See below for 2024 statistics and other important facts to share.

Having accurate facts about colon cancer and rectal cancer is very important. Whether you’re reporting on a story, doing a homework assignment, raising awareness with family, or creating your own materials for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, we encourage you to get the numbers right.

Below are 2024 facts and stats about colorectal cancer. Need a fact check or information about something not listed below? Contact our media team.

Of all cancers, colorectal cancer will take the most lives of people under 50 by 2030.

  • The incidence of early-age onset (EAO) CRC — diagnoses under age 50 — is expected to increase by more than 140% by 2030.
  • More than 27,000 people under age 50 will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2030.
  • Among adults under 50, colorectal cancer is now the #1 cause of cancer death in men and the #2 cause in women. This is a change from its 4th place ranking in 1998.
  • The number of patients in the U.S. diagnosed under 55 years of age doubled from 11% in 1995 to 20% in 2019.

“By 2030, the incidence of early-age onset (EAO) CRC — diagnoses under age 50 — is predicted to increase by more than 140%, meaning more than 27,000 people under age 50 will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. We must act now.”

Anjee Davis, Fight Colorectal Cancer President

1 in 23 men and 1 in 26 women will be diagnosed in their lifetime

  • In 2024, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 152,810 new cases of colorectal cancer in the U.S. and a total of 53,010 people will die from these cancers.
  • In 2020, there were an estimated 1,388,422 people living with CRC in the U.S.
  • In the U.S., colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer cause of death for both men and women.
  • When we look at both men and women combined, colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death.

Those with a family history are at a higher risk and need to be screened earlier than 45

  • Between 25%-30% of colorectal cancer patients have a family history of the disease.
  • All individuals with a first degree biological relative (mother, father, brother, sister) with a colorectal cancer diagnosis should begin screening at age 40, or 10 years before the youngest diagnosis of colorectal cancer in the family.

The LGBTQ+ community is carrying a disproportionate cancer burden.

  • It is estimated that there are more than 1 million LGBT cancer survivors in the country today.
  • Transgender individuals are also significantly less likely to be screened for breast and colorectal cancer compared with cisgender individuals.
  • The LGBTQ colorectal cancer screening rate compared to the state population rate in Tennessee was 29.9% vs. 69.1% (p<0.01) in 2018.
  • Adults 50 years and older in the U.S. had colorectal cancer screening with combined stool/endoscopy of 71.8% gay/lesbian individuals, 62.7% straight individuals, and 53.2% bisexual individuals.

People with the lowest socioeconomic status are 40% more likely to be diagnosed than those with the highest socioeconomic status.

  • In 2018, the median family income was $41,361 among Blacks compared to $70,642 among non-Hispanic white individuals, with 21% and 8%, respectively, living in poverty.

Colorectal cancer is underfunded by the federal government.

  • Of the top five cancer killers, colorectal cancer is the only one that doesn’t have its own research program and dedicated funding stream in the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. Instead colorectal cancer must compete for limited funding with about a dozen other cancers.
  • Colorectal cancer is increasing in young people, but we aren’t seeing the game-changing advances in research that could help patients of all ages.

1 in 3 adults (ages 45-75) are not getting screened as recommended.

  • There are more than 20 million Americans eligible for colorectal cancer screening who have not been screened.
  • In 2021, 19.7%, or fewer than 4 million of the eligible 19 million adults ages 45-49 years, were up-to-date for colorectal cancer screening.
  • The number of patients in the U.S. diagnosed with advanced-stage colorectal cancer increased from 52% in the mid-2000s to 60% in 2019.
  • Early stage cancer is easier to treat. Get screened when you are eligible!

Colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates are not uniform across race and ethnicity.

Black Americans are at higher risk

  • Black Americans are about 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and about 40% more likely to die from it than most other groups.
  • 1 in 46 Black males will die from colorectal cancer, compared with 1 in 55 white males. The risk is similar for women: 1 in 51 Black females will die from colorectal cancer, compared with 1 in 59 white females.
  • Survival rates are the lowest for Black Americans, one quarter of whom are diagnosed with distant (late) stage disease.

Indigenous communities have higher rates

  • Overall, rates of colorectal cancer are higher in all age groups for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) males and females compared with the white population.
  • Rates of colorectal cancer in AI/AN males younger than 50 are highest in the Northern Plains. Rates for AI/AN females younger than 50 years are highest in Alaska.
  • Rates of colorectal cancer in AI/AN males older than 50 and for AI/AN females in all age groups are highest in Alaska.
  • Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer among all AI/AN men and women, but is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among Alaska Native men and women, who have the highest incidence globally.
  • The AI/AN population is notably the only racial and ethnic group for which CRC mortality rates are not declining.
  • The steepest increase in early-onset CRC is among non-Hispanic white and AI/AN populations.

Colorectal cancer is one of the top three cancers affecting Asian Americans

  • Less than 50% of Asian Americans are up-to-date with screening; however, this rate may vary drastically among Asian American subgroups.
  • Screening rates are lowest among Asian Americans under the age of 50 compared to other racial/ethnic groups.
  • Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among South Asian American males and second in incidence and fourth in cancer mortality among females.

Hispanic and Latino Americans face barriers

  • The Hispanic community faces barriers when it comes to getting screened for colorectal cancer, including language and cultural barriers.
  • Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in Hispanic men and Hispanic women.
  • Latinos between 20 and 29 saw among the highest increases in distant-stage, early-onset colorectal cancer.

Jews of Eastern European descent face the highest risk worldwide

  • (Ashkenazi Jews) have one of the highest colorectal cancer risks of any ethnic group in the world.

Colorectal cancer is preventable with screening.

  • 68% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented with screening. All adults 45 and older should be screened.
  • Colonoscopy is often considered the “gold standard” for colon screening because it can identify polyps and remove them during the same procedure.
  • Affordable at home screening options exist and are an option for average-risk patients.
  • If your take-home screening test comes back positive, it is extremely important for you to get a follow-up colonoscopy to identify and examine any abnormalities or suspicious areas.
  • The type of screening you need depends on your risk. Consult your doctor about which screening method is right for you.

By knowing the risk factors and signs and symptoms, you may be able to catch colorectal cancer at its earliest stage.

  • If you are 45 or older, you should talk to your doctor about screening.
  • Anyone, at any age, can get colorectal cancer.
  • More than half (55%) of colorectal cancer cases in the U.S. are attributable to potentially modifiable risk factors, including excess body weight, high consumption of red or processed meat, low calcium intake, heavy alcohol consumption, and very low intake of fruits and vegetables and whole-grain fiber.

There are more than 1.5 million survivors in the United States.

  • Although colorectal cancer patients younger than 50 have higher five-year relative survival rates than their older counterparts for every stage of diagnosis, overall survival among patients younger than age 50 (68%) is similar to that in ages 50-64 years (69%) because of late-stage diagnosis.