Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in the United States in both men and women, not including skin cancers. It is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Colorectal cancer is actually a combined term for colon cancer (cancer of the large intestine) and rectal cancer (cancer of the last 6 inches of the colon).
Colon cancer typically begins as small, noncancerous polyps. Polyps are just clumps of cells. However, over time some of the polyps become cancer. These polyps rarely cause any symptoms, so early detection and removal of the polyps can help decrease the incidence of colon cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 148,810 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in 2008, and it projects that 49,960 Americans will die from colon cancer this year. Fortunately, death rates in the United States from colorectal cancer are decreasing. This decline is partially attributed to early detection of colorectal cancer. Catching the cancer at an early stage makes treating colorectal cancer easier. When colorectal cancer is caught in a local stage, the five-year survival rate is greater than 90 percent.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Everyone over the age of 50 should be screened for colon cancer.
- About 90 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer are over age 50.
- African Americans and Hispanic Americans are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer than other populations.
- Colon cancer does not have a gender preference.
- Obesity is thought to cause an increased risk of colon cancer.
- People who have an inactive lifestyle are more likely to develop colon cancer.
- Smokers are at least 30 percent more likely than non-smokers to die of colorectal cancer.
- People with either a personal history of bowel disease or familial history of colon cancer or adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer are at an increased risk of developing colon cancer.
- Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States.
- Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States in both men and women.
- The death rate for colon cancer has been on the decline for the past decade and a half.
- When colorectal cancer is caught in a local stage, the five-year survival rate is greater than 90 percent.
- Colorectal cancer may be present without any symptoms.
- African Americans have a higher risk of colorectal cancer than any other population group in the United States.
- Hispanic Americans are less likely to get screened for colon cancer than either Caucasians or African Americans.
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FAQs - Colon Cancer
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