American Cancer Society // Infographics // 2021
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the US. Routine testing can help prevent colorectal cancer or find it at an early stage, when it’s smaller and easier to treat. If it’s found early, the 5-year survival rate is 90%. Many more lives could be saved by understanding colorectal cancer risks, increasing screening rates, and making lifestyle changes.
The 5-year survival rate is 91% if colorectal cancer is found at the local stage. However, only 38% of colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage. This is partly due to low testing rates.
Anyone can get colorectal cancer, but some people are at an increased risk.
Gender: Colorectal cancer is more common in men and than in women.
Race/Ethnicity: Colorectal cancer incidence rates are highest in African American men and women, followed closely by the American Indian/Alaska Native population. The rates of colorectal cancer in non-Hispanic White and Hispanic/Latino populations are lower than these populations. Asian/Pacific Islander men and women have the lowest rates of colorectal cancer.
If You’re Age 45 or Older, Talk to Your Doctor About Getting Screened.
For average-risk individuals with no symptoms, testing should begin at age 45. If you have any of the risk factors or are experiencing symptoms, speak to your healthcare provider right away. Symptoms include rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, dark- or black-colored stools, change in shape of stool, lower stomach cramping, unnecessary urge to have a bowel movement, prolonged constipation or diarrhea, and unintentional weight loss.
Several types of screening tests can be used. Talk to your health care provider about which ones might be good options for you. No matter which test you choose, the most important thing is to get tested.
Guaiac-based Fecal Occult Blood Test/Fecal Immunochemical Test:
Can detect blood in stool caused by tumors or polyps. Health care provider gives patient at-home kit.
Multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA):
Looks for certain DNA changes from cancer or polyps. Health care provider has kit sent to patient.
Direct exam of colon and rectum. Polyps removed if present. Required for abnormal results from other tests.
Detailed, cross-sectional, 2-D or 3-D views of the colon and rectum with an x-ray machine linked to a computer
Reduce your risk by managing your diet, weight, and physical activity, and by avoiding tobacco and alcohol.
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of nearly two million strong. Our mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.
Learn More // cancer.org/colon
Detect it Early // cancer.org/colontesting
Live Healthy // cancer.org/nupa
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