Raising Awareness: Facts and Statistics About Colorectal Cancer

Since March is colon cancer awareness month, Digestive Health Associates of Texas aims to provide colon and rectal cancer facts that can help safeguard your overall health. Colorectal cancer is the second most common reason behind cancer deaths among adults, but it is also among the most easily detected and, in numerous cases, preventable cancers when maintaining routine screening exams.

Digestive Health Associates of Texas stays up to date on the latest in digestive health and provides support for individuals and their family members when being diagnosed with and treated for colon or rectal cancer. For more about our board-certified gastroenterologists or to find a colonoscopy doctor near you, please reach out to our GI group in Dallas, TX today.

How common is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is the uncontrolled cellular growth that originates in the large intestine (colon) or rectum. It is also referred to as bowel cancer or colon cancer. Colon cancer is very common, as 1 in 25 women and 1 in 23 men will receive a colorectal cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. Per the American Cancer Society, around 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in 2021.

What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

It can take around ten years for a premalignant polyp (growth) in the colon or rectum to turn into cancer, and in its initial stages, the condition might not produce any obvious symptoms or warning signs. When a person is showing signs of colon or rectal cancer, they may report:

  • Bowel habit changes

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Abdominal discomfort

  • Blood in stool

  • Persistent diarrhea

If you or a loved one shows any of these colorectal cancer symptoms, reach out to Digestive Health Associates of Texas in Dallas, TX promptly.

What are the colorectal cancer risk factors?

Although the distinct reason behind colorectal cancer is unclear, there are certain factors that appear to put some patients at greater risk. Such risk factors include:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Persons with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease are at an increased risk of colon or rectal cancer.

  • Age: Though colon and rectal cancer can arise in younger individuals, around 88% of new cases diagnosed are in individuals who are over 50, but in recent years, there has been a trend in the direction of earlier diagnosis. As a result, this has amended the recommended age for routine colon cancer screening to 45.

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

How is colorectal cancer diagnosed?

Colorectal cancer is often caught and diagnosed during a cancer screening process, like a colonoscopy. Though colorectal cancer is generally highly treatable if caught early, around a third of adults in the United States are not up to date on their colorectal cancer evaluations. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 68% of deaths caused by colorectal cancer could be prevented if all those eligible remained current on their colonoscopy exams.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests receiving your first colonoscopy when you are 45 years of age if you are of average risk. To schedule a colorectal cancer screening in Dallas, TX, please reach out to a Digestive Health Associates of Texas office near you.

Schedule a colorectal cancer screening in Dallas, TX

When found in the beginning stages, the prognosis for colon cancer is generally very favorable. Colon or rectal cancer that has not grown beyond the colon or rectum can often be successfully treated with a five-year rate of survival of approximately 90%. To find out more about colon cancer screenings in Dallas, TX, please reach out to our office today. The physician-led network of gastroenterologists at Digestive Health Associates of Texas is here to help you protect your health and wellness.