TEXAS (KIAH) – In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women. The American Cancer Society estimated more than 50,000 people will die this year of a totally preventable illness. 

The organization estimates the number of colorectal cancers in the United States for 2023 willl be:

  • 106,970 new cases of colon cancer
  • 46,050 new cases of rectal cancer

In 2022, the Texas Department of State Health Services estimated 12,444 Texans were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. An estimated 4,447 Texans died from it.

The rate of diagnosis has been steadily dropping since the mid-1980s thanks to more people getting screened and changing their lifestyle. However, that decline is mostly seen in older adults. In people younger than 50, rates have been increasing by 1% to 2% a year since the mid-1990s.

Doctors agree screening methods, like colonoscopies, do a great job of detecting potential problems before they become cancerous and before they create symptoms.

“Symptoms of colon cancer include rectal bleeding changes in bowel habits that will go on for days. Persistent abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss or unusual weight loss. And then another thing might be anemia caught on random blood tests,” said Dr. Rajesh Shah, Baylor Scott & White Health.

He says people with or without high risk factors, like colon cancer in their family history, are encouraged to have a conversation with their physician about when to start getting colonoscopies.

You can visit the American Cancer Society’s website to learn risk factors for colorectal cancer.

For screening tools and options, you can read the Colorectal Cancer Report put together by the Texas Department of State Health Services.