March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

In March, cancer groups, hospitals, and communities focus attention on preventing, treating, and curing colorectal cancer. From October 2017 to September 2018, Wisconsin had 3,255 inpatient admissions for cancer of the colon or rectum and 32,573 outpatient visits.

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S.  The American Cancer Society’s estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the U.S. for 2019 are:

  • 101,420 new case of colon cancer
  • 44,180 new cases of rectal cancer
  • 51,020 deaths to colorectal cancer

When colorectal cancer is found at an early stage before it has spread, the 5-year relative survival rate is about 90%. But only about 4 out of 10 colorectal cancers are found at this early stage. When cancer has spread outside the colon or rectum, survival rates are lower.

Unfortunately, about 1 in 3 people in the US who should get tested for colorectal cancer have never been screened. This may be because they don't know that regular testing could save their lives from this disease, or due to things like cost and health insurance coverage issues.