Colorectal Cancer

Colon and rectum cancer (colorectal cancer) represents 8% of all new cancer cases in the U.S. In 2017, it is estimated that there will be 135,430 new cases of colorectal cancer and an estimated 50,260 people will die of this disease. 

  Common Types of Cancer Estimated New Cases 2017  Estimated Deaths 2017
1. Breast Cancer (Female)  252,710 40,610
2.  Lung and Bronchus Cancer 222,500  155,870 
3.  Prostate Cancer 161,360  26,730 
4. Colon and Rectum Cancer  135,430  50,260 
5. Melanoma of the Skin  87,110,  9,730 
6. Bladder Cancer  79,030  16,870 
7. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma  72,240  20,140 
8. Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer  63,990  14,400 
9. Leukemia  62,130  24,500 
10. Endometrial Cancer  61,380  10,920 

 

Colorectal Cancer in African Americans

  • Colorectal cancer is more common in men and among those of African American descent.
  • The rate of colorectal cancer diagnosis in African American men is 27% higher than for Caucasian men, while for African American women, that rate is 22% higher.
  • The rate of colorectal cancer death in African American men is 52% higher than for Caucasian men, while for African American women, the rate is 41% higher.

One possible contributor to the racial differences in rates of colorectal cancer diagnosis and death is racial differences in colorectal cancer screening rates. People who identify as African American are less likely to have access to screening and to undergo regular screening for colorectal cancer.  Therefore, they are less likely to have precancerous polyps removed during screening tests and more likely to develop cancer.  Likewise, if they do develop cancer, it is more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, which decreases their overall chances of survival.

Source for the table and text content: American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2016-2018.  Atlanta: American Cancer Society, 2016 (PDF).