NCI report: new cases of colon, rectal cancer deaths declining

The rate of new colorectal cancer cases and deaths from colorectal cancers has declined, according to a report from leading health and cancer organizations. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

The newly released report includes data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). The data shows a 3 percent decrease in new colon and rectal cancer cases in men and a 2.2 percent decrease in women. Deaths from colon and rectal cancers dropped 3.9 percent in men and 3.4 percent in women.

Using modeling projections of colorectal cancer rates, authors of the report say that with accelerated cancer control efforts in the United States, such as quitting smoking and having regular colonoscopies, as well as more effective chemotherapy treatments for the disease, overall deaths from colorectal cancers could be reduced by 50 percent by 2020.

“This report shows that we have begun to make progress reducing colorectal cancer. Yet, colorectal cancer still kills more people than any other cancer except lung cancer,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D. “Reducing smoking further can bring lung and other cancer rates down, and improved colorectal cancer screening can prevent colorectal cancer.”