Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S. Although the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping for the past 30 years, it is still the third leading cause of cancer death for both men and for women in the U.S.
- There are currently about 1.4 million more than one million colorectal cancer survivors in the U.S.
- The overall lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 26 for women.
- With regular screenings, colorectal cancer can be preventable.
- The age for colorectal cancer screening is now 45 years instead of 50 years.
- Several factors may place you at a higher risk for colorectal cancer, including age, personal history of polyps or cancer, inflammatory bowel disorders, type 2 diabetes, family history, genetics and lifestyle choices, such as low physical activity, obesity, smoking, moderate to heavy alcohol use, very low intake of fruits and vegetables, and diets high in red and processed meats.
- Early-stage colorectal cancer typically does not cause symptoms, which is why screening according to patient risk is so important.
Source: American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2023
Signs and Symptoms
A symptom is a change in the body that a person can see and/or feel. A sign is a change that the doctor sees during an examination or on a laboratory test result. If you have any of the symptoms below, it does not mean you have cancer but you should see your doctor or health care professional so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that’s not relieved by having one
- Rectal bleeding with bright red blood
- Blood in the stool, which might make the stool look dark brown or black
- Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unintended weight loss