SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Colon and Rectum Cancer

Mortality and lifetime risk have not been updated to include 2011 data (view details).

Statistics at a GlanceShow More

At a Glance

  • Estimated New Cases in 2014 136,830
  • % of All New Cancer Cases8.2%
  • Estimated Deaths in 2014 50,310
  • % of All
    Cancer Deaths
    8.6%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

64.7% 2004-2010

Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of colon and rectum cancer was 43.7 per 100,000 men and women per year. The number of deaths was 16.4 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2007-2011 cases and 2006-2010 deaths.

Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 4.8 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with colon and rectum cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2008-2010 data.

Prevalence of this cancer: In 2011, there were an estimated 1,162,426 people living with colon and rectum cancer in the United States.

Survival StatisticsShow More

How Many People Survive 5 Years Or More after Being Diagnosed with Colon and Rectum Cancer?

Relative survivalExternal Web Site Policy statistics compare the survival of patients diagnosed with cancer with the survival of people in the general population who are the same age, race, and sex and who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Because survival statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. No two patients are entirely alike, and treatment and responses to treatment can vary greatly.

64.7%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

64.7%

Based on data from SEER 18 2004-2010. Gray figures represent those who have died from colon and rectum cancer. Green figures represent those who have survived 5 years or more.

Additional Information

Cancer stage at diagnosis, which refers to extent of a cancer in the body, determines treatment options and has a strong influence on the length of survival. In general, if the cancer is found only in the part of the body where it started it is localized (sometimes referred to as stage 1). If it has spread to a different part of the body, the stage is regional or distant. The earlier colon and rectum cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For colon and rectum cancer, 39.6% are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year survival for localized colon and rectum cancer is 89.8%.

Percent of Cases & 5-Year Relative Survival by Stage at Diagnosis: Colon and Rectum Cancer
Percent of Cases by Stage
  • Localized (40%)
    Confined to Primary Site
  • Regional (36%)
    Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
  • Distant (20%)
    Cancer Has Metastasized
  • Unknown (5%)
    Unstaged
40% localized; 36% regional; 20% distant; 5% unknown
5-Year Relative Survival
89.8% localized; 70.5% regional; 12.9% distant; 33.2% unstaged

SEER 18 2004-2010, All Races, Both Sexes by SEER Summary Stage 2000

Additional Information

Number of New Cases and DeathsShow More

How Common Is This Cancer?

Compared to other cancers, colon and rectum cancer is fairly common.

Common Types of Cancer Estimated New
Cases 2014
Estimated
Deaths 2014
1. Prostate Cancer 233,000 29,480
2. Breast Cancer (Female) 232,670 40,000
3. Lung and Bronchus Cancer 224,210 159,260
4. Colon and Rectum Cancer 136,830 50,310
5. Melanoma of the Skin 76,100 9,710
6. Bladder Cancer 74,690 15,580
7. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 70,800 18,990
8. Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer 63,920 13,860
9. Thyroid Cancer 62,980 1,890
10. Endometrial Cancer 52,630 8,590

Colon and rectum cancer represents 8.2% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.

8.2%

In 2014, it is estimated that there will be 136,830 new cases of colon and rectum cancer and an estimated 50,310 people will die of this disease.

Colorectal cancer is more common in men than women and among those of African American descent. The number of new cases of colon and rectum cancer was 43.7 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2007-2011 cases.

Percent of New Cases by Age Group: Colon and Rectum Cancer
0.1% under 20; 1.2% 20-34; 4.1% 35-44; 14.2% 45-54; 21.2% 55-64; 23.9% 65-74; 23.2% 75-84; 12.1% 85 and older

Colon and rectum cancer is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 65-74.

Median Age
At Diagnosis

68

SEER 18 2007-2011, All Races, Both Sexes

Number of New Cases per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Colon and Rectum Cancer
MalesFemales
  • Male 50.6All RacesFemale 38.1
  • Male 49.6WhiteFemale 37.2
  • Male 62.3BlackFemale 47.5
  • Male 43.1Asian /
    Pacific Islander
    Female 32.0
  • Male 45.5American Indian /
    Alaska Native
    Female 35.4
  • Male 44.8HispanicFemale 31.2
  • Male 51.4Non-HispanicFemale 39.1

SEER 18 2007-2011, Age-Adjusted

For colorectal cancer, death rates increase with age. Colon and rectum cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The number of deaths was 16.4 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2006-2010 deaths.

Percent of Deaths by Age Group: Colon and Rectum Cancer
0.0% under 20; 0.6% 20-34; 2.5% 35-44; 8.9% 45-54; 17.0% 55-64; 21.9% 65-74; 28.2% 75-84; 20.8% 85 and older

The percent of colon and rectum cancer deaths is highest among people aged 75-84.

Median Age
At Death

74

U.S. 2006-2010, All Races, Both Sexes

Number of Deaths per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Colon and Rectum Cancer
MalesFemales
  • Male 19.6All RacesFemale 13.9
  • Male 19.1WhiteFemale 13.4
  • Male 28.7BlackFemale 19.0
  • Male 13.1Asian /
    Pacific Islander
    Female 9.7
  • Male 18.7American Indian /
    Alaska Native
    Female 15.4
  • Male 16.1HispanicFemale 10.2
  • Male 19.9Non-HispanicFemale 14.1

U.S. 2006-2010, Age-Adjusted

Trends in RatesShow More

Changes Over Time

Keeping track of the number of new cases, deaths, and survival over time (trends) can help scientists understand whether progress is being made and where additional research is needed to address challenges, such as improving screening or finding better treatments.

Using statistical models for analysis, rates for new colon and rectum cancer cases have been falling on average 3.1% each year over 2002-2011. Death rates have been falling on average 2.8% each year over 2001-2010. 5-year survival trends are shown below the figure.

More About This CancerShow More

Cancer and the Colon and Rectum

Gastrointestinal (digestive) system anatomy; shows esophagus, liver, stomach, colon, small intestine, rectum, and anus.
Figure: Anatomy of the Lower Digestive System
Click to enlarge.

Cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer, and cancer that begins in the rectum is called rectal cancer. Cancer that starts in either of these organs may also be called colorectal cancer.

The digestive system is made up of the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines. The first 6 feet of the large intestine are called the large bowel or colon. The last 6 inches are the rectum and the anal canal.

Additional Information

More Information

Here are some resources for learning more about colorectal cancer.

References

All statistics in this report are based on statistics from SEER and the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Health Statistics. Most can be found within:

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Garshell J, Neyman N, Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Cho H, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2011, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2011/, based on November 2013 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2014.

Suggested Citation

All material in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.

SEER Cancer Statistics Factsheets: Colon and Rectum Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/colorect.html

This factsheet focuses on population statistics that are based on the US population. Because these statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. To see tailored statistics, browse the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. To see statistics for a specific state, go to the State Cancer ProfilesExternal Web Site Policy.

The statistics presented in this factsheet are based on the most recent data available, most of which can be found in the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. In some cases, different year spans may be used. Estimates for the current year are based on past data.

Cancer is a complex topic. There is a wide range of information available. This factsheet does not address causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, or decision making, although it provides links to information in many of these areas.