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Colon and Rectum

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in Ohio among both men and women, and it is the second most common cause of cancer-related death for both genders combined. Colorectal cancer mortality has declined 20 to 25 percent in Ohio over the past two decades. From 2002 to 2006, a yearly average of 6,422 Ohioans was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 2479 Ohioans died of the disease. Mortality rates have dropped from 32.9 per 100,000 in 1970 to 20 per 100,000 in 2006. Increased use of colorectal cancer screening by sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy has been suggested as the potential reason for the decline in mortality rates. Other possible contributors to reducing colorectal cancer mortality are dietary changes (including increased calcium intake) and increased use of aspirin to prevent heart disease.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors may contribute to the development of colorectal cancer. They include:

  • Age – More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in individuals 50 and older.
  • Gender – Men have higher incidence rates of colorectal cancer than women.
  • Race – African Americans are more likely than other racial and ethnic groups to develop colorectal cancer.
  • Family or Personal History – Having a parent, sibling, or offspring who has had colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps increases risk, especially if the relative was diagnosed before the age of 60.
  • Physical inactivity
  • A diet that is high in fat (especially animal fat) and low in calcium, folate, and fiber may increase risk for colorectal cancer.
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol

Prevention and Early Detection

Screening tests offer a powerful opportunity for the prevention, early detection, and successful treatment of colorectal cancers. However, only 51% of Ohioans age 50 and older reported having had a screening sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in the past 5 years. While people cannot change their genetic makeup or family health history, most people can reduce their risk of colorectal cancer by following screening guidelines, eating a healthy, low-fat, high fiber diet, and increasing their level of physical activity.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Information and Web Resources

Screening Saves Lives

Basic Fact Sheet:    English    Spanish

Colorectal Cancer in Ohio - What Do I Need to Know? 

National Colorectal Cancer Snapshot

Colorectal Cancer Web Resources

Colorectal Cancer Worksite Toolkit


Last Reviewed 2/27/14