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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

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Colorectal Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Significance

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common malignant neoplasm worldwide [1] and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.[2] It is estimated that there will be 136,830 new cases diagnosed in the United States in 2014 and 50,310 deaths due to this disease. From 2006 to 2010, CRC incidence declined by 3.7% per year among adults aged 50 years and older. However, in adults younger than 50 years, CRC incidence rates have been increasing by 1.8% per year. From 2006 to 2010, mortality from CRC declined by 2.5% per year in men and 3.0% per year in women.[2] The incidence is higher in men than in women. It ranges from 46.1 per 100,000 per year in Hispanic men to 66.9 per 100,000 per year in African American men. In women, it ranges from 31.9 per 100,000 per year in Hispanics to 50.3 per 100,000 per year in African Americans.[3] The age-adjusted mortality rates for men and women are 20.2 per 100,000 per year in men and 14.1 per 100,000 per year in women.[3] About 5% of Americans are expected to develop the disease within their lifetime and about half of those will die from it.[3] Age-specific incidence and mortality rates show that the vast majority of cases are diagnosed after age 50 years; about 4% of CRCs occur younger than age 50 years.[3,4]

Among the groups that have a high incidence of CRC are those with hereditary conditions, such as familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary nonpolyposis CRC (inherited in an autosomal dominant manner). Combined, the two groups account for no more than 6% of CRCs. More common conditions associated with an increased risk include a personal history of CRC or adenomas; first-degree relative with CRC; a personal history of ovarian, endometrial, or breast cancer; and a personal history of long-standing chronic ulcerative colitis or Crohn colitis.[5,6,7] These high-risk groups account for about a quarter of all CRCs. Limiting screening or early cancer detection to only these high-risk groups would miss the majority of CRCs.[8]

Recommended Related to Colorectal Cancer

Who is at Risk?

For the great majority of people, the major factor that increases a person's risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing age. Risk increases dramatically after age 50 years; 90% of all CRCs are diagnosed after this age. The history of CRC in a first-degree relative, especially if before the age of 55 years, roughly doubles the risk. Other risk factors are weaker than age and family history. People with inflammatory bowel disease have a much higher risk of CRC. A small percentage (<5%) of CRCs...

Read the Who is at Risk? article > >

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