Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer

How common is colorectal cancer?

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for the number of colorectal cancers in the United States for 2023 are:

  • 106,970 new cases of colon cancer
  • 46,050 new cases of rectal cancer

The rate of people being diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer each year has dropped overall since the mid-1980s, mainly because more people are getting screened and changing their lifestyle-related risk factors. From 2011 to 2019, incidence rates dropped by about 1% each year. But this downward trend is mostly in older adults. In people younger than 50, rates have been increasing by 1% to 2% a year since the mid-1990s.

Lifetime risk of colorectal cancer

Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 26 for women. However, each person's risk might be higher or lower than this, depending on their risk factors for colorectal cancer.

Deaths from colorectal cancer

In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women, and it's the second most common cause of cancer deaths when numbers for men and women are combined. It's expected to cause about 52,550 deaths during 2023.

The death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for several decades. There are a number of likely reasons for this. One is that colorectal polyps are now being found more often by screening and removed before they can develop into cancers. Screening also results in many colorectal cancers being found earlier, when they are likely to be easier to treat. In addition, treatments for colorectal cancer have improved over the last few decades.

Statistics related to survival among people with colorectal cancer are discussed in Survival Rates for Colorectal Cancer.

Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2023. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2023.

American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2020-2022. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2020.

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2016, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2016/, based on November 2018 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2019.

Miller KD, Nogueira L, Devasia T, Mariotto AB, Yabroff KR, Jemal A, Kramer J, Siegel R. Cancer treatment and survivorship statistics, 2022. CA: Cancer J Clin. DOI: 10.3322/caac.21731. Available at cacancerjournal.com.

Written by

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

References

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2023. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2023.

American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2020-2022. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2020.

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2016, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2016/, based on November 2018 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2019.

Miller KD, Nogueira L, Devasia T, Mariotto AB, Yabroff KR, Jemal A, Kramer J, Siegel R. Cancer treatment and survivorship statistics, 2022. CA: Cancer J Clin. DOI: 10.3322/caac.21731. Available at cacancerjournal.com.

Last Revised: January 13, 2023