Lowering the Toll of Colorectal Cancer

When colorectal cancer is caught before spreading, the five-year survival rate is over 90 percent.

Nearly 50,000 people living in the United States died of colorectal cancer in 2016, according to federal estimates. Although this type of cancer can be preventable, it is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States behind only lung cancer.

Colonoscopy screening can prevent colorectal cancer because precancerous polyps found during the procedure can be removed at the same time, before they ever develop into cancers. The procedure can also detect colorectal cancers at an early stage, before they have spread, when successful treatment is more likely. In fact, the five-year survival rate for localized colorectal cancer is 90.1 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

In 2016, an estimated 134,490 people in the United States were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 49,000 died of the disease.

Colorectal cancer is more common in men than women. It is also more common among African Americans than people of other races. The average age of diagnosis in the United States is 68 years, and nearly 80 percent of newly diagnosed patients are aged 55 and older.

What Is the AACR Doing in This Area?

In 2016, the AACR presented "Colorectal Cancer: From Initiation to Outcomes," a special conference that provided a comprehensive overview beginning at tumor initiation through patient outcomes and survivorship.

The AACR also partnered with several organizations to offer grants to support colorectal cancer research in 2016.

The Never Too Young Coalition-AACR Fellowship in Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Research, supported by the Colon Cancer Alliance, is a joint effort to support a research fellow to conduct colorectal cancer research focusing on reducing colorectal cancer incidence and mortality, as well as targeted treatments among the young-onset population. The 2016 grantee was Tatianna C. Larman, MD, for her study,  "Exploiting a Common Metabolic Susceptibility in Early-onset Sporadic CRC Hypermutated Colorectal Tumors."

The Never Too Young Coalition-AACR Fellowship in Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Research, supported by Michael's Mission and the Colon Cancer Alliance, is another collaborative effort to encourage and support a fellow focused on developing novel therapeutic options for the colorectal cancer patient population. The 2016 grantee was Sarah B. Stringfield, MD, for her study, "Young-onset Colorectal Cancer - A Virally Mediated Process?".

Get Your Rear in Gear Philadelphia donated Scholar-in-Training Awards for 2016 to support eight young investigators who presented meritorious research papers relating to colorectal cancer at AACR scientific conferences during the year.


Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer Thriver is Running for Research

Diagnosed in 2009 with metastatic colorectal cancer, Teri has continued to participate in endurance athletics and is an AACR Runners for Research ambassador. Read more.


A New Colorectal Cancer Screening Test

Test uses blood samples, providing an alternative method for colorectal cancer screening. Read more.


The AACR's mission is to prevent and cure all forms of cancer.​

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is a 501c3 registered nonprofit organization with offices at 615 Chestnut Street, 17th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | 215.440.9300