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Fast Facts: March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

In March, cancer groups, hospitals, and communities focus attention on preventing, treating, and curing colorectal cancer. From October 2018 to September 2019, Wisconsin had 3,246 inpatient admissions for cancer of the colon or rectum and 40,161 outpatient visits. WHAIC’s heat map shows where these patients are coming from throughout the state, using the rate per 1,000.

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 2020 are 104,610 new cases of colon cancer, 43,340 new cases of rectal cancer, and 53,200 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.