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2024-06-28 21:05:03

Colorectal Cancer Statistics: How Many People Have CRC?

Colorectal cancer (CRC) can start in either the colon or the rectum. This is why it might also be called colon cancer or rectal cancer. Commonly, healthcare workers combine the two because they share many characteristics.

Colorectal cancer doesn't get enough attention. However, it should. As of 2024, for new cases of cancer, colon/rectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer, making it one of the most commonly diagnosed cancer types. Thankfully, over time, colorectal cancer screening rates are going up, and earlier detection can help prevent more cancer-related deaths.

Keep reading for more colorectal cancer statistics you need to know, the risk factors for colon cancer/rectal cancer, who has the highest incidence rates, and how to get colorectal cancer screening for early detection.

How Many People Are Diagnosed With Colorectal Cancer?

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2024, there will be about 106,590 new colon cancer cases in the United States: 54,210 in men and 52,380 in women. There will be approximately 46,220 new rectal cancer cases: 27,330 in men and 18,890 in women.

Age plays a huge factor. As you get older, the risk of colorectal cancer increases significantly. In fact, the American Cancer Society says that people who are 65 years of age and older accounted for more than half of all patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2023. Additionally, they accounted for more than two-thirds of all colorectal cancer deaths.

Elderly couple sitting on a bench looking at the mountains

How Many People Get Colorectal Cancer Screening?

Convincing older adults to get screened has been an uphill battle because it often requires a stool sample. However, screening efforts are paying off. These are the approximate percentages of adults in the United States between the ages of 50 and 75 who've stayed up to date with colorectal cancer screening each year.

Research has told us that colorectal cancer screening saves lives. One study was performed in the region of Stockholm-Gotland, Sweden, between 2008 and 2021. It involved 379,448 participants. Researchers found that there was a 14% decrease in colorectal cancer mortality rates among participants who got an early invitation to fecal occult blood test screening, compared to individuals who received a late invitation or none at all.

And they believed that this was probably a modest calculation!

In other words, colorectal cancer screening has a real and measurable impact on survival rates.

What Are the Risk Factors?

As we've already said, age is one of the biggest risk factors for colorectal cancer. Here are a few other things that might put you at a higher risk:

Bottles of alcohol

When to Begin Screening

How do you know when it's time to begin screening? If you're at an average risk, you can start screening at the age of 45. An average risk means that you have no personal or family history of colorectal cancer, colorectal polyps, or inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Regular screening should continue through the age of 75. After that, the decision to continue screening (or not) should be made with a healthcare provider based on your health and history.

Younger adults typically don’t need to get screened unless recommended by a healthcare provider — for example, if they have a strong family history or symptoms that are concerning to their healthcare provider.

How Do You Screen for Colorectal Cancer?

Most commonly, screening for colon cancer/rectal cancer is done via a stool sample, which is then tested for microscopic blood fragments. When you get an earlier-stage diagnosis, the five-year relative survival rate is approximately 90% — all the more reason to stay on top of screening tests! 

eNational Testing offers fast and affordable colorectal cancer testing that you can do right at home. Results are available in three to seven business days. We have more than 2,000 locations around the nation, and you don't even need to see your healthcare provider first.

Learn more about our colon cancer screening, find a testing center near you, or contact us with any questions.

There are other methods for testing for colorectal cancer. However, they are performed by specialists and are considered more invasive procedures. One example is colonoscopies.

How is Colorectal Cancer Treated?

Addressing colon cancer/rectal cancer usually involves surgically removing the cancer. Beyond that, treatment depends on where the cancer is and what stage it's at. Chemotherapy and/or radiation might be necessary, but treatment varies from individual to individual.

Smiling elderly couple

Get Screened Today

We know that getting screened for colon cancer might not be the first thing on your to-do list, but regular screening is crucial to reducing CRC incidence and mortality rates. As we've discussed, science has already found that in the past, CRC mortality declined as a result of screening.

Managing the risk factors as best you can and visiting your healthcare provider is the best way to steer clear of colorectal cancer.