Colorectal Cancer Facts and Statistics


Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among adults, but it is also among the most identifiable and, in numerous scenarios, preventable cancers through periodic screenings. With next month designated as colon cancer awareness month, Arizona Digestive Health aims to provide colon and rectal cancer facts and statistics that can help you preserve your health and wellness.

Arizona Digestive Health offers specialized care for gastrointestinal (GI) health and provides support for patients and their loved ones as they undergo diagnosis and treatment for colorectal cancer. If you're interested in learning more about our physician-led network of gastroenterologists and colonoscopy doctors near you, contact our GI practice in Phoenix, AZ today.

What is colon and rectal cancer?

Colon and rectal cancer occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of cells that starts in either the colon (large intestine) or the rectum, and is sometimes called bowel cancer or colon cancer. The disease is extremely common, as 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will receive a colon cancer diagnosis at some point during their lifetime. Approximately 150,000 new cases of colon cancer were detected in 2021, as indicated by the American Cancer Society.

Symptoms of colon and rectal cancer

A precancerous polyp (growth) in the colon or rectum could take around ten years to develop into cancer. In its initial stages, colon cancer might not exhibit any obvious symptoms or warning signs. When a person is exhibiting indications of colorectal cancer, they may report:

  • Persistent diarrhea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Bloody stools

  • A change in bowel habits

In the event you or someone you know notices any of these colon cancer symptoms, get in touch with Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ promptly to schedule a consultation.

What are risk factors for colorectal cancer?

While the distinct reason behind colorectal cancer isn't known, there are several factors that seem to place some patients at an elevated risk for developing the disease. These risk factors are:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are at higher risk of developing colon or rectal cancer.

  • Age: While colon cancer can affect children and young adults, approximately 88% of new diagnoses occur in patients who are over 50 years of age. However, in recent years, there has been a trend in the direction of earlier diagnosis. This trend has altered the recommended age for routine colon cancer screening to 45.

  • Family history of colon cancer: Roughly 25 – 30% of people who develop colon cancer have a relative who also has been diagnosed with the disease.

How is colon and rectal cancer diagnosed?

Cancer of the colon or rectum is most likely to be identified and diagnosed with a cancer screening, such as a colonoscopy. Although colorectal cancer is typically highly treatable if identified early, roughly a third of U.S. adults are not up to date on their colorectal cancer screenings. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 68% of deaths resulting from colon cancer could be prevented if all those eligible received routine colonoscopy screenings.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends you undergo your initial colonoscopy at age 45 years of age if you have an average risk. For a colorectal cancer screening in Phoenix, AZ, contact Arizona Digestive Health.

Learn more about colorectal cancer screenings in Phoenix, AZ

If diagnosed initial stages, the prognosis for colon and rectal cancer is generally very favorable. Colorectal cancer that has not developed past the colon or rectum can often be successfully treated with a five-year rate of survival of about 90%. To learn more about colon cancer in Phoenix, AZ, please reach out to our team today. The board-certified gastroenterology specialists at your local Arizona Digestive Health location look forward to helping you preserve your health.