Colorectal Cancer Deaths

Deaths due to colorectal cancer per 100,000 population

  • New Jersey State Health Assessment
  • Multiple Cause of Death Data, National Vital Statistics System, National Center for Health Statistic
Calculated by the Dashboard Team using data from 2020, 3 year estimate.
Dashboard-City Average

Why do we measure colorectal cancer deaths?

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer death.1 Although it is one of the most preventable cancers if screened appropriately, it generally shows no symptoms in early stages, and 60% to 70% of colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage in populations that were not screened.2,3  

Colorectal cancer develops first as polyps, which are abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum that can become cancerous if not identified early via a colonoscopy and removed.4 Risk factors for colorectal cancer include increasing age, being male, being Black, family history of the disease, eating red meat, tobacco and alcohol use, physical inactivity, and obesity.5-7 Colorectal screening should begin at age 50 for men and women who are at average risk, according to the American Cancer Society.8 For those who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.9

How do we measure colorectal cancer deaths?

This metric includes anyone who has died due to colorectal cancer.

Strengths and Limitations

Strengths of Metric

Limitations of Metric

• Because colorectal cancer is highly preventable, measuring deaths helps us understand the success of screening and intervention practices in a population. 

• This metric is available broken down by race and ethnicity, which can help target resources and interventions for groups that historically have been underrepresented.

• Colorectal cancer deaths have declined over the years as early detection has improved, so it may be more meaningful to monitor the prevalence of colorectal cancer rather than number of deaths.

• Race and ethnicity data are often collected using discrete options that may not account for all or multiple identities, leading to undercounting of those who are more likely to select “other.”



Colorectal cancer deaths are calculated by the following formula:

Colorectal Cancer Deaths Calculation

This metric is age-adjusted to the 2010 U.S. age distribution. For more information on the calculation, please refer to the City Health Dashboard Technical Document.

Data Source

Estimates for this metric are from Multiple Cause of Death Data from the National Vital Statistics System of the National Center for Health Statistics. Multi-year data are available for this metric. For more information, please refer to Using Multi-Year Data: Tips and Cautions

Colorectal cancer deaths are identified by the International Disease Classification codes (version 10) that classify underlying cause of death. This metric uses the C19-C20, C180-189 codes.


  1. Colorectal Cancer Alliance. Statistics. Accessed January 12, 2018.

  2. Lieberman D, Ladabaum U, Cruz-Correa M, et al. Screening for Colorectal Cancer and Evolving Issues for Physicians and Patients: A Review. Jama. 2016;316(20):2135-2145.

  3. Maida M, Macaluso FS, Ianiro G, et al. Screening of colorectal cancer: present and future. Expert review of anticancer therapy. 2017:1-16.

  4. Colorectal Cancer Alliance. What is Colorectal Cancer. Accessed January 12, 2018.

  5. Stracci F, Zorzi M, Grazzini G. Colorectal cancer screening: tests, strategies, and perspectives. Frontiers in public health. 2014;2:210.

  6. Augustus GJ, Ellis NA. Race in Cancer Health Disparities Theme Issue Colorectal Cancer Disparity in African Americans: Risk Factors and Carcinogenic Mechanisms. The American journal of pathology. 2017.

  7. Colorectal Cancer Alliance. Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors. Accessed January 12, 2018.

  8. Rex DK, Boland CR, Dominitz JA, et al. Colorectal Cancer Screening: Recommendations for Physicians and Patients From the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer. Gastroenterology. 2017;153(1):307-323.

  9. American Cancer Society. Treating Colorectal Cancer. Accessed January 12, 2018.

Last updated: July 26, 2023