Updated 1/25/07 Page 1 of 3
Florida Fact Sheet
Colorectal cancer (commonly referred to as “colon” cancer) develops in the lower part of the digestive
system, also referred to as the gastrointestinal, or GI, system. The digestive tract processes the food you
eat and rids the body of solid waste matter. This cancer usually develops from precancerous changes or
growths in the lining of the colon and rectum. These growths in the colon or rectum are called polyps.
Incidence and Mortality
In 2007, an estimated 153,760 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed in the United States.
• An estimated 52,180 deaths due to colon cancer are expected to occur in 2007, accounting for about
10 percent of cancer deaths this year in the United States.
In Florida, an estimated 11,420 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year and 3,530 deaths
from colon cancer will occur.
• Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in the United States for men and women.
• When women and men are considered separately, colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of
cancer death in each sex.
Screening Saves Lives
• About 30,000 lives a year could be saved if everyone over 50 got screened for colon cancer.
• Screening rate in Florida: 57% (based on 2004 BRFSS data)
• When colon cancers are detected at an early (i.e. localized) stage, the five-year survival rate is
approximately 90 percent; however, because screening rates are so low, only 39 percent of colorectal
cancers are detected at this stage.
• There is a 68 percent chance of five-year survival when the cancer has spread only to nearby organs or
• Once the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate is about 10%.