Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the Western world. The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is 5.42% and it is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the US in men and women.  Age is a major risk factor for sporadic colorectal cancer and it is rare before 40 years of age. Between 2000 and 2004 in the US, the median age at diagnosis for cancer of the colon and rectum was 71 years of age.  The age-adjusted incidence rate was 51.6 per 100,000 men and women per year. Incidence and mortality rates are much lower in Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Alaskan natives compared with white people and black people.  Some of these disparities may be due to differences in genetic susceptibility. Over the past decade, colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates have decreased in all populations except American Indians and Alaskan natives. The incidence and mortality rates are similar in men and women until 50 years of age and after this time rates are higher in men. Worldwide, the highest incidence rates for colorectal cancer are seen in Europe, North America, and Australasia and are lowest in Africa and Asia.
Age-specific incidence of colorectal cancer in men and women