Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death among cancers affecting both men and women. In 2010, an estimated 102,900 new cases of colon and 39,670 cases of rectal cancer are expected to be diagnosed and an estimated 51,370 deaths from colorectal cancer are expected to occur.
The real tragedy is that many of these cancer cases and cancer deaths occur needlessly, as they could be prevented if more people took advantage of colorectal cancer screening.
Screening and early detection saves lives. When colorectal cancer is diagnosed at the localized stage, the 5 year survival rate is 90% and of course, many people live much longer than 5 years (and many are cured). Unfortunately, only 39% of cases are diagnosed at this localized stage. If the cancer is not detected until late stage, the 5 year survival rates drops to less than 12% .
Furthermore, the disease can be prevented through the early identification and removal of pre-cancerous polyps, detectable only through colorectal cancer screenings. It is critical, therefore, that barriers to screening be eliminated.
Guidelines from most major screening organizations recommend that all men and women at average risk for colorectal cancer get screened, beginning at age 50 by choosing one of several screening options.
For more information, visit the American Cancer Society website.