March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer diagnosed and the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States, but it doesn't have to be. Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. However, recent studies suggest that people, especially those in higher-risk ethnic groups, benefit from earlier screening.
Colorectal cancer is significantly higher among minorities. African Americans have higher mortality rates and higher incidence rates of colorectal cancer than all other racial or ethnic groups, except American Indians and Alaska Natives. Colorectal cancer is also the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among Latinos, and fewer than 40 percent of American Indian and Native Hawaiian adults have ever been screened for colorectal cancer. Data from the NCCRT shows that one in three adults ages 50 to 75 is not getting screened as recommended
According to the National Cancer Institute, the number of new colorectal cancer cases and the number of deaths from colorectal cancer are decreasing a little bit each year in adults aged 55 years and older. But in adults younger than 55 years, there has been an increase in the number of new cases and deaths from colorectal cancer in recent years.