Facts and Stats

Need more information about colorectal cancer to share with your family, friends, or community? Know the facts and tell someone you care about.

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Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined in the United States.

There will be an estimated 147,950 new cases of colorectal cancer in 2020.

1 in 20 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

1 in 3 people are not up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening.

60% of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented with screening.

25% of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer have a family history. Know your cancer risk.

More Colorectal Cancer Statistics

Find additional facts about colon cancer and rectal cancer using the following sources:

Hopeful Figures & Facts About Colon 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.
  • 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.

Colorectal Cancer Under 50

  • SEER data shows that while new colorectal cancers in older adults (ages 50+) have fallen consistently since 1985, rates of colorectal cancer for people under age 50 have risen, particularly for rectal cancer.  After 2001, there was an average annual increase of 2.1 percent in young onset colorectal cancer compared to a decrease of 2.5 percent yearly for those 50 and older. Rectal cancer cases increased even more rapidly in younger patients at an average annual change of 3.9 percent.  
  • Based on current research, the median age of younger patients is 44, with 3 out of 4 (75.2 percent) diagnosed in their forties.
  • An NIH study found most patients diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer under age 50 experience signs & symptoms, have left-colon or rectal cancers and are diagnosed with more advanced diseases. If you are younger than 50 and have symptoms, you need to determine the cause.

Why is it happening?

Studies suggest that lack of access to health care and a lack of awareness in both young patients and their doctors about the signs and symptoms of colon and rectal cancers are causing the higher incidence of colon cancer and rectal cancer in young adults under age 50.

Read more about colorectal cancer in young adults

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