Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cause of cancer and the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. In men, colorectal cancer incidence lags only prostate and lung cancer. In women, colorectal cancer lags only breast and lung cancer. Your lifetime risk for developing colorectal cancer is approximately 1:20.
Men were slightly more predominant than women in the incidence of colorectal cancer in 2007, the most recent year of available statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (52.7/100,000 compared to 39.7/100,000). The highest incidence rate was for African-American males (62.0/100,000).
Colorectal Cancer Survival Rates are Better When You’re Diagnosed Early
Colorectal cancer is potentially preventable if you undergo routine screening colonoscopies. Survival rates for early stage colorectal cancers approach 90%. Screening rates, however, according to a 2005 National Health Interview Study, were only 50% in those aged 50 or older. Unfortunately, because screening rates are deficient, only 40% of colorectal cancers are diagnosed at an early stage.
The most common symptom of colorectal cancer is none at all. The most common type of colorectal cancer is sporadic (non-inherited).
Who Should Get a Colonoscopy?
Guidelines for a screening colonoscopy include ALL asymptomatic persons over age 50. Colonoscopies should be performed SOONER if symptoms are present (change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, unexplained anemia). First degree family members should be screened 10 years prior to the age that the family member was diagnosed OR age 40- whichever age is EARLIER.