Lowering the Toll of Colorectal Cancer

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

Over 50,000 people living in the United States died of colorectal cancer in 2018, 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 89.8 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

In 2018, an estimated 140,250 people in the United States were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and an estimated 50,630 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 median age of diagnosis in the United States is 67 years, and 78 percent of newly diagnosed patients are aged 55 and older.

What Is the AACR Doing in This Area?

In September 2018, the AACR held its third colorectal cancer-focused special conference of the past 10 years, "Intestinal Stem Cells and Colon Cancer: Biology to Therapy," in Washington, D.C.

In 2018, the AACR offered the following awards in the field of colorectal cancer research:

  • AACR-MEG Scholar-in-Training Award: Xiaoliang Wang, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • AACR Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Awards: Paneen S. Petersen, MPH, University of Washington; LaShanale M. Wallace, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • AACR Women in Cancer Research Scholar Award: Sarah Østrup Jensen, MS, Aarhus University Hospital
  • AACR Undergraduate Scholar Award: Eric C. Olsen, Brigham Young University
  • AACR Minority and Minority-serving Institution Faculty Scholars in Cancer Research: Sara Pagotto, PhD, G. d’Annunzio University; Jovanny Zabaleta, PhD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

The AACR also partnered with Get Your Rear in Gear Philadelphia to offer eight Scholar-in-Training Awards for 2018. These awards support young investigators who presented meritorious research papers relating to colorectal cancer at AACR scientific conferences during the year.

Last year the AACR provided over $64 million in grants and awards funding lifesaving cancer research. There are many ways you can support our mission to prevent and cure all cancers. Take Action

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