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Colorectal Cancer

General Statistics

Leading Cause of Death

  • Colorectal cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in Illinois
  • In Illinois, colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates are higher in males than in females
  • In Illinois, colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates are highest in Black populations and lowest in Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic populations

New Diagnoses (Incidence)

  • In the United States, the incidence of colorectal cancer has decreased from 45.9 per 100,000 in 2008 to 36.8 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In Illinois, the incidence of colorectal cancer has decreased from 50.9 per 100,000 in 2008 to 40.4 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In 2017, there were a total of 141,425 new colorectal cancer cases in the United States and a total of 6,073 new colorectal cancer cases in Illinois
  • Between 2013 and 2017, colorectal cancer was the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in males and in females in Illinois

Deaths (Mortality)

  • In the United States, mortality from colorectal cancer has decreased from 16.5 per 100,000 in 2008 to 13.5 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In Illinois, mortality from colorectal cancer has decreased from 18.2 per 100,000 in 2008 to 14.6 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In 2017, there were a total of 52,547 deaths from colorectal cancer in the United States and a total of 2,223 deaths from colorectal cancer in Illinois
  • Between 2013 and 2017, colorectal cancer was the third leading cause of cancer death in males and in females in Illinois

Risk Factors

Modifiable risk factors for colorectal cancer include:

  • Overweight or obesity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor diet
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Alcohol use

Non-modifiable risk factors for colorectal cancer include:

  • Age
  • Personal history of colorectal cancer, polyps, or bowel disease
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Inherited syndromes

Prevention and Early Detection

Lifestyle factors that can lower a person’s risk for colorectal cancer include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Engaging in regular physical activity
  • Following a healthy diet
  • Not smoking cigarettes
  • Limiting alcohol intake

Engaging in regular colorectal cancer screening can identify and remove precancerous polyps, which can reduce the risk for colorectal cancer. Screening can also detect colorectal cancer at an earlier stage when treatment may be easier, and survival may be improved. The USPSTF announced in May 2021 the recommendation for colorectal screening to start at age 45 years and continue until age 75 years. Illinois currently has 803,237 residents’ ages 45-49, which will add to the 50-75 years of age Illinois residents that are also recommended for colorectal cancer screening.

The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer begin regular screening at age 45. The age to begin screening, the type of test used, and the frequency of screening is based on individual and familial factors and prior screening results. The following are the different tests used to screen for colorectal cancer:

  • Stool-based tests that check the stool for blood or altered DNA
    • Highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
    • Highly sensitive guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year
    • Multi-targeted stool DNA test (mt-sDNA) every three years
  • Direct visualization tests which look inside the colon for abnormalities
    • Colonoscopy every 10 years
      • Colonoscopy has a distinct advantage over other screening methods
      • Precancerous polyps can be removed during the procedure
    • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every five years
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSIG) every five years

Colorectal Cancer Measures for Illinois

Cancer Measure Baseline (per 100,000) (2017) Target (per 100,000) (2025)

Incidence rate

40.4 33.0

Mortality rate

14.6 12.1

Colorectal Cancer Incidence and Mortality by Race and Ethnicity in Illinois (2017)

Race/Ethnicity Male and Female Incidence (per 100,000) Male and Female Mortality (per 100,000)

All Races (includes Hispanic)

40.4 14.6

White (includes Hispanic)

39.9 13.8

Black (includes Hispanic)

46.3 22.9

Hispanic (any race)

33.1 8.8

Asian/Pacific Islander

28.2 8.0

American Indian/Alaska Native

Data not available Data not available
Race/Ethnicity Male Incidence (per 100,000) Female Incidence (per 100,000) Male Mortality (per 100,000) Female Mortality (per 100,000)

All Races

47.0 35.0 17.4 12.5

White Non-Hispanic

47.2 35.2 16.8 12.3

Black Non-Hispanic

56.2 41.3 27.9 20.3

Hispanic (any race)

40.2 26.3 12.7 5.6

Asian/Other Races

34.5 21.8 Data not available Data not available

Other Races

Data not available Data not available 10.6 4.7

Colorectal Cancer - 20 Counties with Highest Incidence in Illinois (2013-2017)

Overall State Incidence

42.5

County Incidence (per 100,000)

Stark

67.8

Edwards

67.2

Richland

65.1

McDonough

60.1

Montgomery

59.8

Shelby

59.3

Logan

58.8

Calhoun

58.0

Warren

57.1

Effingham

57.1

Cass

56.0

Williamson

56.0

Menard

55.7

De Witt

55.7

Marion

55.7

Hamilton

55.6

Cumberland

55.6

Scott

55.6

Christian

55.0

Wabash

54.7