Know These Facts and Figures About Colorectal Cancer


Colon and rectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women combined. However, it is additionally among the most identifiable and, in numerous scenarios, preventable cancers with routine colorectal cancer screenings. Since next month is colon cancer awareness month, Colorado Gastroenterology aims to provide colorectal cancer facts and information that could help you protect your health against this concerning disease.

Colorado Gastroenterology remains up to date on the latest in gastrointestinal (GI) health and provides the necessary support for patients and their families as they undergo diagnosis and care for colorectal cancer. If you are interested in learning more about our board-certified gastroenterologists or need to find a colonoscopy doctor near you, reach out to our GI practice in Denver, CO today.

Facts about colorectal cancer

Cancer of the colon or rectum occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of cells that begins in the colon (large intestine) or the rectum. It may also be called bowel cancer or colon cancer. Colorectal cancer is extremely common; 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will have the disease at some point during their lifetime. As indicated by the American Cancer Society, nearly 150,000 new cases of colon cancer were detected in 2021.

What are the symptoms of colon cancer?

During its early stages, the condition will not likely exhibit any indications or symptoms, and it can take about ten years for a precancerous growth (polyp) in the colon or rectum to develop into cancer. When a person is exhibiting symptoms of colorectal cancer, they will likely experience:

  • Chronic diarrhea

  • Discomfort in the abdominal area

  • A change in bowel habits

  • Bloody stools

  • An unexplained loss of weight

If you or a loved one has any of these colorectal cancer symptoms, reach out to Colorado Gastroenterology in Denver, CO as soon as possible.

Are there any colorectal cancer risk factors?

While the precise cause of colon and rectal cancer is unclear, there are certain factors that seemingly put some patients at more risk than others. These risk factors are:

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

  • Age: Though colon and rectal cancer does occur in children and young adults, approximately 88% of new cases are in patients who are over the age of 50; however, during recent years, there has been a tendency in the direction of earlier diagnosis. As such, this has altered the age recommendation for routine screening to 45.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Individuals diagnosed with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease are at higher risk of developing colon or rectal cancer.

How is colon and rectal cancer identified?

Colon and rectal cancers are most likely to be caught and diagnosed with a cancer screening, such as a colonoscopy. Even though the disease is often highly treatable if detected early, around one out of three U.S. adults are not current on their colon cancer evaluations. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention surmises that around 68% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be avoided if all eligible individuals were current on their colonoscopy exams.

According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, it is advisable to have your first colorectal cancer screening at age 45 years old if you are of average risk. To arrange for a colorectal cancer screening in Denver, CO, please contact Colorado Gastroenterology.

Learn more about colorectal cancer screenings in Denver, CO

When caught early, the prognosis for colorectal cancer is actually very good. Colorectal cancer that has not developed outside of the colon or rectum can often be effectively addressed with a five-year survival rate of around 90%. If you are looking to learn more about colon cancer screenings in Denver, CO, please reach out to our office today. The expert GI physicians at Colorado Gastroenterology are here to help you manage and protect your digestive health.