SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Colon and Rectum Cancer

Statistics at a GlanceShow More

At a Glance

  • Estimated New Cases in 2015 132,700
  • % of All New Cancer Cases8.0%
  • Estimated Deaths in 2015 49,700
  • % of All
    Cancer Deaths
    8.4%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

64.9% 2005-2011

Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of colon and rectum cancer was 42.4 per 100,000 men and women per year. The number of deaths was 15.5 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2008-2012 cases and deaths.

Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 4.5 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with colon and rectum cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2010-2012 data.

Prevalence of This Cancer: In 2012, there were an estimated 1,168,929 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.

64.9%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

64.9%

Based on data from SEER 18 2005-2011. 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, 39.5% are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year survival for localized colon and rectum cancer is 90.1%.

Percent of Cases & 5-Year Relative Survival by Stage at Diagnosis: Colon and Rectum Cancer
Percent of Cases by Stage
  • Localized (39%)
    Confined to Primary Site
  • Regional (36%)
    Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
  • Distant (20%)
    Cancer Has Metastasized
  • Unknown (5%)
    Unstaged
39% localized; 36% regional; 20% distant; 5% unknown
5-Year Relative Survival
90.1% localized; 70.8% regional; 13.1% distant; 34.5% unstaged

SEER 18 2005-2011, 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 2015
Estimated
Deaths 2015
1. Breast Cancer (Female) 231,840 40,290
2. Lung and Bronchus Cancer 221,200 158,040
3. Prostate Cancer 220,800 27,540
4. Colon and Rectum Cancer 132,700 49,700
5. Bladder Cancer 74,000 16,000
6. Melanoma of the Skin 73,870 9,940
7. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 71,850 19,790
8. Thyroid Cancer 62,450 1,950
9. Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer 61,560 14,080
10. Endometrial Cancer 54,870 10,170

Colon and rectum cancer represents 8.0% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.

8.0%

In 2015, it is estimated that there will be 132,700 new cases of colon and rectum cancer and an estimated 49,700 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 42.4 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2008-2012 cases.

Percent of New Cases by Age Group: Colon and Rectum Cancer
0.1% under 20; 1.3% 20-34; 4.1% 35-44; 14.5% 45-54; 21.5% 55-64; 23.9% 65-74; 22.6% 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 2008-2012, All Races, Both Sexes

Number of New Cases per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Colon and Rectum Cancer
MalesFemales
  • Male 48.9All RacesFemale 37.1
  • Male 47.8WhiteFemale 36.3
  • Male 61.2BlackFemale 46.0
  • Male 42.2Asian /
    Pacific Islander
    Female 31.3
  • Male 46.3American Indian /
    Alaska Native
    Female 35.7
  • Male 43.3HispanicFemale 30.0
  • Male 49.7Non-HispanicFemale 38.1

SEER 18 2008-2012, 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 15.5 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2008-2012 deaths.

Percent of Deaths by Age Group: Colon and Rectum Cancer
0.0% under 20; 0.7% 20-34; 2.5% 35-44; 9.3% 45-54; 17.9% 55-64; 22.1% 65-74; 26.6% 75-84; 21.0% 85 and older

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

Median Age
At Death

73

U.S. 2008-2012, All Races, Both Sexes

Number of Deaths per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Colon and Rectum Cancer
MalesFemales
  • Male 18.6All RacesFemale 13.1
  • Male 18.0WhiteFemale 12.7
  • Male 26.9BlackFemale 17.8
  • Male 13.0Asian /
    Pacific Islander
    Female 9.4
  • Male 18.8American Indian /
    Alaska Native
    Female 15.6
  • Male 15.6HispanicFemale 9.6
  • Male 18.9Non-HispanicFemale 13.4

U.S. 2008-2012, 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 the last 10 years. Death rates have not changed significantly over 2002-2012. 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 and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Most can be found within:

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Garshell J, Miller D, Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z,Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2012, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2012/, based on November 2014 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2015.

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.