Colon Cancer Statistics
Colon Cancer Statistics
Colon Cancer Alliance
Excluding skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the United States and Canada (after lung and breast in women, and lung and prostate in men). Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the US. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 148,810 new cases and 49,960 deaths expected in 2008.
About 72% of cases arise in the colon and about 28% in the rectum.
With regular screening, colorectal cancer can be found early, when treatment is most effective. In many cases, screening can prevent colorectal cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancer. And if cancer is present, earlier detection means a chance at a longer life — generally, five-year survival rates for colorectal cancer are lower the further advanced the disease is at detection:
Over 90% of those diagnosed when the cancer is found at a local stage (confined to colon or rectum) survive more than five years.
Once the cancer is diagnosed at a regional stage (spread to surrounding tissue) that rate drops to 66%.
When the cancer has also spread to distant sites, only 8.5% of those diagnosed will reach the fiveyear survival milestone.
Stage at Diagnosis
Unfortunately, the majority of colorectal cancers are not found early:
37% of colorectal cancers are found while the cancer is found at a local stage (confined to colon or rectum).
37% of colorectal cancers are found after the cancer is diagnosed at a regional stage (spread to surrounding tissue).
20% of colorectal cancers are found after the disease has spread to distant organs.
Colorectal Cancer and Age
9 in 10 new cases are people 50 or older. However, colorectal cancer does not discriminate and can happen to men and women at any age.
Colorectal Cancer and Ethnicity and Race
Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews) may have a higher rate of colon cancer.
Because of disproportionate screening, minorities, particularly African-Americans and Hispanics, are more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in advanced stages. As a result, death rates are higher for these populations.
Financial Resources for Colorectal Cancer
The Center for Disease Control's 2002 colorectal cancer budget was $12 Million, compared to $14 million for prostate cancer and $192.6 million for breast and cervical cancer. The National Cancer Institute spent $564.6 Million on breast cancer compared to $267 Million on colorectal cancer research in 2003. Though dollars have increased since CCA was founded, there is still a long way to go. The NCI figures for four of the top cancers in 1996 and 2004 are as follows:
Cancer 2004 NCI Cancer Spending (millions) 1996 NCI Cancer Spending (millions)
Breast $584.0 $317.5
Lung $265.5 $98.0
Colorectal $276.4 $98.8
Prostate $323.0 $71.1
©2008 Colon Cancer Alliance