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Clorectal Health

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A colon cancer diagnosis can be very overwhelming. The dangers, prevention and treatment of colon cancer are still not widely known and are not discussed because colon cancer affects parts of the body that people often find embarrassing or even forbidden to talk about. Lack of general public awareness of the disease has limited funding for research, kept colon cancer patients unaware of their treatment options and prevented early detection and treatment in far too many cases. Be informed and prevent this disease and its consequences.


In this section you will find general information about colon cancer, including basic statistics, disease terminology, screening methods and resources. Colon Cancer Association (CCA) has also included links to what we feel are some of the best resources available on the web for information about colon cancer, staging, and treatment.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the US.
The American Cancer Society estimates 136,830 people will be diagnosed in 2014 and 50,310 will die from colon cancer in the United States.

On average, the lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about one in 20 (5%), however, this varies widely according to individual risk factors.

About 72% of cases arise in the colon and about 28% in the rectum.

Early Detection

With regular screening, colon cancer can be found early, when treatment is most effective. In many cases, screening can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancer. And if cancer is present, earlier detection means a chance at a longer life -- generally, five-year survival rates for colon cancer are lower the further advanced the disease is at detection:

  • Over 90% of those diagnosed when the cancer is found at a local stage (confined to colon or rectum) survive more than five years.

  • Once the cancer is diagnosed at a regional stage (spread to surrounding tissue) that rate drops to 70%.

  • When the cancer has also spread to distant sites, only 13% of those diagnosed will reach the five-year survival milestone.

Stage at Diagnosis

  • Unfortunately, the majority of colon cancers are not found early (before it has spread):

  • 40% of colon cancers are found while the cancer is found at a local stage (confined to colon or rectum).

  • 36% of colon cancers are found after the cancer is diagnosed at a regional stage (spread to surrounding tissue).

  • 20% of colon cancers are found after the disease has spread to distant organs.

Colon Cancer and Age

  • 90% of new cases and 95% of deaths from colon cancer occur in people 50 or older. However, colon cancer does not discriminate and can happen to men and women at any age.

  • While rates for colon cancer in adults 50 and older have been declining, incidence rates in adults younger than 50 years has been increasing.

  • Just launched! New pages with tons of information about young-onset colon cancer, who’s at highest risk and resources for you. Check them out!

Colon Cancer and Ethnicity and Race

  • Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews) may have a higher rate of colon cancer.

  • Partly because of disproportionate screening, African-American men and women have a higher risk of developing colon cancer and a lower survival rate (about 20% higher incidence rate and 45% higher mortality rate) compared to Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans.

  • The risk of death is also increased for Native Americans and Alaskan Natives.

Colon Cancer and Family History

  • People with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or children) who has colon cancer are between two and three times the risk of developing the cancer than those without a family history.

Colon Cancer Survival Rates

  • Since the mid-1980s, the colon cancer death rate has been dropping due in part to increased awareness and screening. By finding more polyps and cancer in the earlier (local and regional) stages, it is easiest to treat. Improved treatment options have also contributed to a rise in survival rates.

  • The five-year survival rate for colon cancer found at the local stage is 90%.

  • The five-year survival rate for colon cancer found at the regional stage is 70%.

  • The five-year survival rate for colon cancer found at the distant stage is 12%.

    There are currently more than one million colon cancer survivors alive in the US.


    These statistics were compiled from the American Cancer Society’s 2013 Cancer Facts & Figures and Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2011-2013.

MCC Medical Clinic, which offers the services of two highly experienced male and one female Gastroenterologists, is offering free Colorectal screening to its eligible patients. This program is made possible through a grant from Montgomery County. Please call us at 301-384-2166 Ext 1019 to find out what resources are available to you and how can you become eligible for a free colorectal screening exam. 

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