Here Are Facts and Statistics About Colon and Rectal Cancer


Colon and rectal cancer is the second most common reason behind cancer deaths among adults. However, it is also among the most detectable and, in numerous instances, preventable cancers through routine screening exams. Since March is colorectal cancer awareness month, GastroArkansas wishes to provide colorectal cancer facts and statistics that can help you protect your health against this disease.

GastroArkansas offers specialized care in digestive health and supports patients and their family members when receiving a diagnosis and treatment for colorectal cancer. For more about our physician-led network of gastroenterologists or to find a colonoscopy doctor in Little Rock, AR, please contact our gastroenterology team today.

What is colon and rectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a disease that develops when there is an uncontrolled growth of cells that arises in the rectum or large intestine (colon). It is also called colon cancer or bowel cancer. This form of cancer is highly common. In fact, 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will receive a colorectal cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. As reported by the American Cancer Society, approximately 150,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancer were detected in 2021.

Common symptoms of colorectal cancer

During the early stages, colorectal cancer might not show any obvious symptoms or warning signs. In fact, it may take around ten years or so for a premalignant growth (polyp) in the colon or rectum to develop into cancer. If a patient is having signs of colon or rectal cancer, they might notice:

  • A change in bowel habits

  • An unexplained loss of weight

  • Bloody stools

  • Abdominal pain

  • Persistent diarrhea

In the event you or someone you know shows any of these symptoms of colorectal cancer, please contact GastroArkansas in Little Rock, AR right away to schedule an appointment.

What are the risk factors of colorectal cancer?

While the distinct cause of colorectal cancer remains unknown, there are a number of factors that appear to place some individuals at a higher risk. These risk factors include:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS): People with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are more likely to develop colorectal cancer.

  • Age: Though colon cancer can affect younger individuals, around 88% of new diagnoses are in patients over 50, but recently, there has been a tendency in the direction of earlier diagnosis. As such, this has revised the age recommendation for routine screening to 45years old.

  • Family history of colon or rectal cancer: Approximately 25 – 30% of individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer have a relative who also has been diagnosed with the disease.

How is colon and rectal cancer detected?

Colorectal cancer is most likely to be caught and diagnosed through a cancer screening, like a colonoscopy. Though colorectal cancer is generally very treatable if discovered early, about one-third of adults in the United States are not up to date on their colon cancer evaluations. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention surmises that about 68% of deaths resulting from colon and rectal cancer could be prevented if all those eligible received routine colonoscopy exams.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends you undergo your initial colonoscopy at age 45 if you are of average risk. To set up a colorectal cancer screening in Little Rock, AR, reach out to GastroArkansas.

Learn more about colorectal cancer screenings in Little Rock, AR

If detected in the early stages, the prognosis for colon cancer is generally very favorable. Colon or rectal cancer that has not grown outside of the colon or rectum can often be treated effectively with a five-year survival rate of about 90%. For more information about colon cancer or to schedule a colonoscopy in Little Rock, AR, please reach out to our team today. The expert gastroenterologists at GastroArkansas are here to help you manage your health.