March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month!

 

 

Each year the American Cancer Society collects data on colon and rectal cancer. During the 2000s, the incidence of colon cancer has decreased in individuals over 65. However, statistics now show that the disease has been increasing 1% yearly in the 50-65 age group. In the age group less than 50 years old, the rate of increase is 2% annually.

 

By 2020, the incidence of colon cancer in the United States is expected to be 148,000. 53,200 of these cases are expected to be fatal. It is estimated that 12% of those 148,000 individuals diagnosed will be less than 50 years. This same age group will also account for 7% of the 53,200 expected deaths in 2020.

 

The decreased incidence of death in the older age group is due to screening for colorectal cancer. Only 20% of patients between 45 and 50 years get screened for colon cancer. The American Cancer Society now recommends that screening for colon cancer should begin at age 45 due to the increasing incidence and severity of colon cancer before age 50.

Author
Farouk S. Tootla, MD

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