Colon cancer, or colorectal cancer, is usually seen in older people, although it can occur at any age. It mainly affects the colon and rectum in the large intestine, toward the end of the digestive tract.
Polyps or clumps of noncancerous cells inside the colon can increase the risk of colon cancer. Polyps may be small and cause few or no symptoms. But if they go unnoticed, they can spread and develop into colon cancer.
Colon cancer is easily preventable. Doctors recommend regular check-ups for early diagnosis and treatment of polyps to prevent it. If colon cancer spreads, several treatments like surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are available to manage it. However, prevention is always better than cure, and awareness is the first step toward prevention.
Five Colon Cancer Statistics and Facts
1. Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the US. Over 149,500 new cases of colon cancer are expected to emerge in 2021.
The National Cancer Institute reports that the number of colon cancer deaths in 2021 may reach 52,980, meaning that almost 145 Americans per day may die from colon cancer.
2. Age, diet and lifestyle, genetics, and gastrointestinal issues are risk factors of colon cancer.
Age: People aged 50+ are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. However, many people below 50 years of age may develop colon cancer due to other risk factors.
Diet and lifestyle: Low-fiber diets with fewer fruits and vegetables can cause colon cancer. Consuming high amounts of red or processed meats can increase the risk of colon cancer. Alcoholism, smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise also increase colorectal cancer risk.
Genetics: A family history of colon cancer or polyps can increase the risk of colon cancer. Hereditary colorectal conditions like Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis considerably increase the chances of getting colon cancer.
Gastrointestinal issues: Conditions such as colorectal polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes increase the risk of colon cancer.
3. Colon cancer affects people regardless of their gender.
One in 23 (4.3%) men and one in 25 (4%) women have a risk of developing colorectal cancer. However, men are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer at a younger age than women.
4. Colon cancer can be prevented by early screening.
Colon cancer is easily preventable. Screening for polyps helps in its early detection and prevention. Screening tests like colonoscopies have the power to reduce cancer risk by up to 90%.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of US adults aged 50 to 75 years who are regularly screened for colon cancer increased by 3.5 million from 2016 to 2018. But screening at ages below 45 years can effectively decrease the incidence of colon cancer.
5. Early detection and treatment of colon cancer improves survival rates.
People with late-stage colon cancer may have lower survival rates. But screening and treating colon cancer in its early stages can increase a patient’s 5-year survival rate up to 90%.
Early diagnosis and treatment have helped over 1.5 million people survive colorectal cancer in the US. The overall cancer death rate has dropped over the years. But survival rates may vary among patients based on how they respond to treatment.
Preventing Colon Cancer
Regular screening can help prevent the spread of colon cancer. As can:
- Eating more fruits and vegetables
- Avoiding red or processed meats
- Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body weight
- Avoiding excessive smoking and alcohol
Colon Cancer Screening
Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy are common screening tests for colon cancer. Consult with a cancer care specialist to check for early signs of colon cancer.
Schedule a Screening Today
Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care (NVSCC) — the most trusted cancer care specialist in Las Vegas — offers complete colon cancer screening and treatment solutions. With their extensive cancer prevention expertise, the experienced doctors at NVSCC help their patients through the entire screening process, providing them with all the attention and care they need.
Contact NVSCC today to schedule a colon cancer screening appointment.