Incidence + mortality
In 2005, an estimated 145,290 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed and 56,290 Americans are expected to die of colorectal cancer in 2005. Colorectal cancer is the second leading killer cancer among men and women combined, second only to lung cancer.

Risk factors
Age | Although colorectal cancer can strike at any age, more than 9 in 10 new cases are in people ages 50 or older.

Gender | Colorectal cancer affects both men and women.

Ethnic Background/Race | Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews) may have a higher rate of colon cancer. Because of disproportionate screening, minorities, particularly

African-Americans and Hispanics, are more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in advanced stages. As a result, death rates are higher for these populations.

Personal history of bowel disease | A personal history of colon cancer or intestinal polyps, and diseases such as chronic ulcerative colitis, Chrohn’s Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease increase a person’s chance of developing colorectal cancer.

Family history/genetic factors | A person who has a specific inherited gene syndrome (such as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) or Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colon Cancer (HNPCC) is at increased risk for developing colorectal cancer. People with a strong family history of colorectal cancer (as defined by cancer or polyps in a first degree relative younger than 60 or two first-degree relatives of any age) are also at increased risk for developing colorectal cancer.

Diet/Exercise | A diet made up mostly of foods that are high in fat, especially from animal sources, can increase the risk of colorectal cancer. People who are not active have a higher risk of colorectal cancer.

Smoking/Alcohol | Recent studies show that smokers are 30% to 40% more likely than nonsmokers to die of colorectal cancer. Heavy use of alcohol has also been linked to colorectal cancer.