Colon cancer (also called colorectal cancer) is the second-leading cause of cancer death in New York City, after lung cancer. It is most often found in people aged 50 and older.
Each year in NYC, 1,200 adults die from colon cancer and more than 3,500 New Yorkers are newly diagnosed. Colon cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups. In 2016, Black New Yorkers had a higher death rate (17.9 deaths per 100,000 people) than Whites (15.2), Latinos (10.4) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (8.8).
Screening can help prevent colon cancer from forming.
You are more likely to get colon cancer if you:
Know your risk factors and, where possible, try to address them.
To lower your risk of colon cancer:
Routine screenings can prevent colon cancer and help your doctors find it earlier, when it is easier to treat.
Ask your provider about the benefits and risks of colon cancer screening.
A colonoscopy can remove polyps — small growths that may develop into cancer if left alone — before they turn into cancer. A colonoscopy is safe and usually painless. Most people who choose this screening test should get a colonoscopy once every 10 years, as long as their test results are negative.
Talk to your doctor to schedule a screening, or call 311 for information on where you can get free or low-cost screenings.
Most insurances cover cancer preventive services, such as colonoscopy, without a copay. If you do not have insurance, you may be eligible to sign up for low- or no-cost coverage. You can also get free in-person assistance signing up for a plan.
Learn how to get ready for a colonoscopy with the graphic novella, Preparing for a Colonoscopy: Sandra’s Story. Read how Sandra prepares for a colonoscopy by consuming a liquid diet, avoiding opaque liquids and arranging for someone to pick her up after the surgery.