Cancer Stat Facts: Colon and Rectum Cancer

Statistics at a GlanceShow More

At a Glance

  • Estimated New Cases in 2017 135,430
  • % of All New Cancer Cases8.0%
  • Estimated Deaths in 2017 50,260
  • % of All
    Cancer Deaths
    8.4%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

64.9% 2007-2013

Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of colon and rectum cancer was 40.1 per 100,000 men and women per year. The number of deaths was 14.8 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2010-2014 cases and deaths.

Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 4.3 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with colon and rectum cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2012-2014 data.

Prevalence of This Cancer: In 2014, there were an estimated 1,317,247 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 survival 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 2007-2013. 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, 39.2% are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year survival for localized colon and rectum cancer is 89.9%.

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 (35%)
    Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
  • Distant (21%)
    Cancer Has Metastasized
  • Unknown (4%)
    Unstaged
39% localized; 35% regional; 21% distant; 4% unknown
5-Year Relative Survival
89.9% localized; 71.3% regional; 13.9% distant; 35.4% unstaged

SEER 18 2007-2013, 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 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

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

8.0%

In 2017, it is estimated that there will be 135,430 new cases of colon and rectum cancer and an estimated 50,260 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 40.1 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2010-2014 cases.

Percent of New Cases by Age Group: Colon and Rectum Cancer
0.1% under 20; 1.5% 20-34; 4.3% 35-44; 14.9% 45-54; 22.3% 55-64; 24.2% 65-74; 21.1% 75-84; 11.7% 85 and older

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

Median Age
At Diagnosis

67

SEER 18 2010-2014, All Races, Both Sexes

Number of New Cases per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Colon and Rectum Cancer
MalesFemales
  • Male 46.0All RacesFemale 35.1
  • Male 45.0WhiteFemale 34.4
  • Male 56.4BlackFemale 43.2
  • Male 40.2Asian /
    Pacific Islander
    Female 28.8
  • Male 45.5American Indian /
    Alaska Native
    Female 37.5
  • Male 40.0HispanicFemale 29.1
  • Male 47.0Non-HispanicFemale 36.1

SEER 18 2010-2014, 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 14.8 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2010-2014 deaths.

Percent of Deaths by Age Group: Colon and Rectum Cancer
0.0% under 20; 0.7% 20-34; 2.6% 35-44; 9.5% 45-54; 18.4% 55-64; 22.5% 65-74; 25.3% 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. 2010-2014, All Races, Both Sexes

Number of Deaths per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Colon and Rectum Cancer
MalesFemales
  • Male 17.7All RacesFemale 12.4
  • Male 17.2WhiteFemale 12.1
  • Male 25.3BlackFemale 16.5
  • Male 12.4Asian /
    Pacific Islander
    Female 8.8
  • Male 19.5American Indian /
    Alaska Native
    Female 14.0
  • Male 15.0HispanicFemale 9.2
  • Male 18.0Non-HispanicFemale 12.7

U.S. 2010-2014, 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 2.7% each year over the last 10 years. Death rates have been falling on average 2.5% each year over 2005-2014. 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, Miller D, Bishop K, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2014, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2014/, based on November 2016 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2017.

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 Stat Facts: Colon and Rectum Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/colorect.html

These stat facts focus 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 Profiles.

The statistics presented in these stat facts 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. These stat facts do not address causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, or decision making, although links are provided to information in many of these areas.