Colon Cancer Rates; The Good News and the Very Bad


colon cancer rates

Colon cancer rates on the way up

A diagnosis of cancer of any type is a universal fear.  And the rates of all cancers continue to increase.

This is almost exclusively due to the toxic, sedentary lifestyle society seems so stuck in.  While many belief that genetics plays a role, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  There are few cases where genetics are the major contributing factor to the development of cancer (aka Angelina Jolie and the BRCA gene), but even in these cases lifestyle is a modifying factor.  Twenty percent of those with the BRCA genes make the right lifestyle choices and do NOT develop breast cancer.  And this is the extreme end.

In most cancers, however, some 90+% is environmental and the smaller factor is genetics.

This means that the choices you make are a large determinant in whether or not you develop cancer.  Many of us do not like to hear this because it puts the responsibility smack dab on our own shoulders.

Instead of facing this responsibility, society pushes for early detection under the guise of “prevention.”  Make NO MISTAKE—colonoscopy, mammography and PSA testing are in no way, shape or form “prevention.”

Early detection does not prevent a cancer—it just catches it early.

If this sounds like a good idea to you, you have not read any of my recent blog articles on the major issues with widespread PSA testing and mammography.  With these two tests, it turns out that the bulk of what is found early is actually pre-cancerous lesions (that we call “cancer” to appropriately scare patients into treatment) that would have resolved without any treatment whatsoever or would have laid dormant, never becoming aggressive.

Then we have colonoscopy.

To be honest, I have not seen research that puts colonoscopy in this same category.  While it is still early detection and not prevention, this is one scenario where finding lesions early and cutting them out may not be a bad idea.

There will always be discussion about when to begin screening and how often to screen, but there has been little argument as to whether or not it’s a good thing.

My vocal concern has not been with colonoscopy but with the sole reliance on early detection and removal to prevent colon cancer deaths rather than advocating lifestyle changes known to lower your risk of colon cancer (while it’s beyond the depth of this article to cover these changes, if you’re really interested you can download my Colorectal Cancer eBook from Amazon by clicking here).

This particular study does highlight the effectiveness of colonoscopy at reducing the diagnosis of colorectal cancers, but there’s a catch.

And a strong one.

Researchers looked at the data from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER registry for all patients diagnosed as having colon or rectal cancer from January 1, 1975, through December 31, 2010 (393 241 patients).  Specifically, they were looking at the rates of these cancers over the 35 years of the study.  Here’s what they found:

  • The overall rates of colorectal cancers decreased by 0.92% (while this IS a decrease, given what we know about how to prevent this cancer, it is a sad change).
  • But the decline was only seen in patients age 50 years or older.
  • However, for patients 20 to 34 years, the rates of localized, regional, and distant colon and rectal cancers have increased.
  • The rates of rectal cancer also increased for those 35 to 49 years.
  • If these trends don’t change, by 2030 the rates will increase by 90.0% for colon cancer and 124.2% for rectal cancer for patients 20 to 34 years.
  • These same rates are expected to increase by 27.7% for colon and 46.0% for rectal cancer for patients 35 to 49 years.

While I wouldn’t call this a doomsday prediction, it certainly should raise some eyebrows.

If I had to put these predictions into a sentence, I would say that the benefit of colorectal screening is slowly being drowned out by the effects of our toxic lifestyles on increasing the risk of cancer.

If we do not wake up as a society and begin to change the toxicity of our diet, the sedentary lifestyles, the massive continued overuse of antibiotics and the stress-ridden daily lives these predictions will come to pass.

And no advances in colonoscopy or cancer treatment will save us.  The answer has to come from inside.


James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.