Detecting low-abundance mutations is very important for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Here we describe an improved targeted sequencing analysis that dramatically increases sequencing depth. Seven colorectal cancer (CRC) patients and seven healthy adults were enrolled in this study. We examined genetic mutations in tissue samples from the central and peripheral regions of tumors from the CRC patients and in blood cells from the healthy adults. We observed that each CRC carried larger numbers of mutations more than previously estimated. These included numerous deletion mutations in the tumor tissue. While the cellular morphology in the surrounding normal colonic tissues was healthy, these cells also carried many mutations. Similarly, the blood cells from the healthy donors carried numerous mutations. These findings shed new light on the processes of tumorigenesis and aging, and also present a potentially effective method for detecting low-abundance mutations for cancer diagnosis and targeted treatments.