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COLON CANCER: CATCHING IT EARLY

American Cancer Society // Infographics // 2014 // 03

Despite substantial decreases in colon cancer death rates over the past two decades, it remains the third-deadliest cancer in the United States among
both men and women. Routine screening can prevent colon cancer or find it at an early, treatable stage. If it’s found and treated early, however, the 5-year
survival rate is about 90%. Many more lives could be saved by understanding colon cancer risks, increasing screening rates and making lifestyle changes.

90%

5-YEAR SURVIVAL RATE
IF FOUND AT THE LOCAL STAGE

STAGES OF
COLON CANCER

40%

POLYP

IN SITU

LOCAL

REGIONAL

DISTANT

Most colon
cancers develop
from these
noncancerous
growths

Cancer has
formed, but is
not yet growing
inside the colon
or rectum walls

Cancer is now
growing in the
colon or rectum
walls; nearby
tissue unaffected

Growth beyond
the colon or
rectum walls
and into tissue
or lymph nodes

Cancer has
spread to other
parts of the
body such as
liver or lungs

DIAGNOSED AT AN EARLY STAGE
PARTLY DUE TO LOW SCREENING RATE

ANYONE CAN GET COLON CANCER, BUT SOME ARE AT INCREASED RISK
*Age adjusted to the 2000 US standard population

WOMEN

MEN

DIET

BODY MASS INDEX

ACTIVITY

LIFESTYLE

DO

150
100

18–25

50
0

WOMEN

MEN

GENDER

UNDER 50

AGE

50+

NON-HISPANIC AFRICAN
WHITE
AMERICAN

HISPANIC/
LATINO

LIMIT

INCIDENCE PER 100,000*

200

REDUCE RISK BY MANAGING DIET, WEIGHT AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

RACE / ETHNICITY

25+

2011-2013 Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures

IF YOU'RE 50 OR OLDER,* TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT GETTING TESTED
TYPE OF SCREENING TEST

PROS

CONS

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Slender tube inserted through the rectum into the colon. Provides visual exam of rectum and lower 1/3 of colon.

Fairly quick and safe; Sedation usually not
used; Does not require a specialist

Doesn’t view upper 2/3 of colon; Can't remove
all polyps; May be some discomfort

Colonoscopy
Direct exam of colon and rectum. Polyps removed if present. Required for abnormal results from other tests.

Can usually view entire colon; Can biopsy and
remove polyps; Done every 10 years

Costs more than other tests; Higher risk than
other tests; Full bowel preparation needed

Double-Contrast Barium Enema
Radiological exam of colon. Barium sulfate is introduced through the rectum and spreads throughout the colon.

Can usually view entire colon; Relatively safe;
No sedation needed

Can miss small polyps; Can’t remove polyps
during test; Full bowel preparation needed

CT Colonography
Detailed, cross-sectional, 2D or 3D views of the colon and rectum with an x-ray machine linked to a computer.

Fairly quick and safe; Can usually view entire
colon; No sedation needed

Still fairly new test; Can’t remove polyps
during test; Full bowel preparation needed

Fecal Occult Blood Test / Fecal Immunochemical Test
Can detect blood in stool caused by tumors or polyps. At-home kit is obtained from a health care provider.

No direct risk to the colon; No bowel
preparation; Sampling done at home

Colonoscopy needed if abnormal; May miss
some polyps/cancers; Should be done yearly

* For average-risk individuals with no symptoms, screening should begin at age 50. If you are at increased risk or are experiencing symptoms, speak to your doctor right away.
Symptoms include: Rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, dark- or black-colored stools, change in shape of stool, lower stomach cramping, unnecessary urge to have a bowel movement,
prolonged constipation or diarrhea, and unintentional weight loss.

SUPPORT THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY
100 years ago, we began the fight of a lifetime. Today, you can help us finish the fight. When you support the American Cancer
Society, you join millions of others who are committed to the fight to end cancer. You help save lives in your community and around
the world. Thank you for supporting these lifesaving efforts that get us closer to a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

Learn More // cancer.org/colon
Live Healthy // cancer.org/nupa
Detect It Early // cancer.org/colontesting

© 2014 American Cancer Society, Inc.
All rights reserved.


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