Colon Cancer facts
What do i need to know?
by Jamal Ross
As we begin our colon cancer series, I would like to share some interesting facts about colon cancer. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. Colon cancer is also the second most common cause of cancer related death in the United States. About 140 men and women are expected to die from colon cancer every day. (1) Fortunately, there are several screening tests that can help detect and prevent colon cancer. Sadly, about 59% of American older than the age of 50 take part in colon cancer screening. Even more alarming, up to 53% of men and women over the age of 50 will have a pre-cancerous growth found on colonoscopy. (2) What does this mean? About 40% of Americans are not being tested for colon cancer. In this untested group, half of the them will have the beginning of cancer. This means that there is necessary death from a disease that is largely preventable. This should not happen.
When we take a deeper look at the numbers, we can also see an alarming trend in the diagnosis of colon cancer in young adults, certain ethnic group and gender. Specifically, for men and women between the ages of 20 and 49, colon cancer has become more frequent, increasing at a rate of about 2% steadily each year for 2 decades. (3) Therefore, while colon cancer has become less frequently for those over the age of 50, it is becoming more common in younger adults. We are unsure of the reasoning behind this phenomenon. Notwithstanding, several medical societies are recommending colon cancer screening before the age of 50. Therefore, any bowel complaints and blood in you stool should be taken seriously at any age. Additionally, certain ethnic group, including African American, are at higher risk of developing colon cancer. Finally, colon cancer is more common is 25% more common in men, but this disease has also been showed to be impactful for women.
In all, colon cancer is a leading cause of death and illness in the United States, but this disease is largely preventable. As Americans, we fail to take advantage of the preventive tools that can stop this disease in its tracks. Throughout our colon cancer series, we will discuss various screenings tests, including colonoscopy, risk factors and symptoms related to this disease. It is my prayer that after reading this blog and listening to our podcast that you will be empowered to prevent this disease from affecting you and your loved-ones.
1. Siegel RL, Miller KD, Fuchs HE, Jemal A. Cancer Statistics, 2021. CA Cancer J Clin. 2021 Jan;71(1):7-33.
2. In Alguire, P. C., & American College of Physicians, (2018). MKSAP 18: Medical knowledge self-assessment program.
3. Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2016. CA Cancer J Clin. 2016 Jan-Feb;66(1):7-30.