In 2023, an estimated153,020 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.
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 the stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, and unexplained weight loss.
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.
Log into Iron Road to see when your last screening was, and to find out if you qualify for a free screening.