3 Colorectal Cancer Facts Everyone Aged 50+ Should Know

Since March is colorectal cancer awareness month, we’re exploring the risks posed by this particularly pernicious form of cancer. It’s the second deadliest cancer among men and women combined, according to FightColorectalCancer.org. It’s also exceedingly preventable—if you’re up to date on your screenings. 60 percent of colorectal cancer deaths could have been prevented had the patient been screened early enough. But these facts just scratch the surface. Here are three more colorectal cancer facts you should know.

1. Older adults are winning battles in the war against colorectal cancer.

Scientific advances in the past decade have made colorectal cancers significantly less deadly for older adults. According to FightColorectalCancer.org, “Colon cancer incidence rates have dropped 30% in the U.S. in the last 10 years among adults ages 50 and older due to the widespread uptake of colonoscopy, with the largest decrease occurring in those ages 65 and older.” This is a hugely important development that reminds us of the most important colorectal cancer-related truth: screening matters. If you aren’t up to date on your check-ups, schedule one today.

3 Colorectal Cancer Facts Everyone Aged 50+ Should Know - Callout

2. Older adults are at the greatest risk for colorectal cancer—by a lot.

The encouraging statistics don’t subtract from the fact that older adults are by far at the greatest risk for colorectal cancer. According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, 9 in 10 new cases of colorectal cancer are found in people over the age of 50. The average diagnosis age is 72. And while colorectal cancer rates are decreasing for people under 50, they’re actually increasing for citizens over that age. It’s vitally important to remain conscientious of your health. If everyone got regular check ups, death rates would undoubtedly fall for every age group.

3. Older adults, people with family history of cancer, and men are most likely to get the disease. But absolutely everyone is at risk.

This may be the most important colorectal cancer fact of all. It’s important to note risk factors. Age, family history, and gender all make us more likely to contract colorectal cancer. But it’s also important to know that this edition of the American Cancer Society’s colorectal cancer facts and figures, “75 percent of cases occur in people without these risk factors.” Don’t count yourself safe if you don’t have a family history. Stay aware, and get screened.

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Last updated: 04.03.2017

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.

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