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Colorectal cancer incidence, deaths drop, data show

Wednesday, April 02 2014 | Comments
Evidence Grade 0 What's This?
Both the overall incidence rate of colorectal cancer and the rate of colorectal cancer death decreased by approximately 3 percent per year from 2001 to 2010, according to a study published in Cancer: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

For the study, investigators analyzed current data on incidence, survival and mortality rates and trends in colorectal cancer. The National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries provided the incidence data, while the National Center for Health Statistics provided the mortality data.

From 1990 to 2000, the death rate from colorectal cancer dropped approximately 2 percent per year, the authors noted.

The decrease in the incidence rate increased among adults aged 50 years or older, particularly for those aged 65 years or older. In this latter group, the annual percent decline accelerated from 3.6 percent during 2001 to 2008 to 7.2 percent during 2008 to 2010.

The authors said the declines in incidence rates in the last decade have been attributed to widespread increase of colonoscopy screening, which rose from 19 percent in 2000 to 55 percent in 2010 among adults aged 50 to 75 years.

Despite the improvements, not all groups benefitted equally. Blacks patients had the highest incidence and death rates and Asians/Pacific Islanders had the lowest rates. From 2006 through 2010, death rates in black males (29.4 per 100,000 population) were more than twice those in Asians/Pacific Islander males (13.1 per 100,000 population) and 50 percent higher than those in non-Hispanic white males.

Socioeconomic differences also appear to affect mortality rates. The authors said that the colorectal cancer mortality rates in males in the highest socioeconomic group were 150 percent higher than were those in males in the lowest socioeconomic group in the 1950s, but by 2001, rates among the most affluent men were one-half those of the least affluent.

An estimated 71,830 men and 65,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with the disease this year, and 26,270 men and 24,040 women are predicted to die from colorectal cancer in 2014. Of the deaths, more than a quarter (29 percent in men and 43 percent in women) will occur in people aged 80 years or older.

"While there has been dramatic progress in reducing colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates over the past decade, striking racial and socioeconomic disparities remain," the authors concluded.

"Further reductions in the burden of colorectal cancer will require comprehensive implementation of known cancer control interventions across the nation and to all segments of the population, with a particular emphasis on those individuals who are economically disenfranchised."

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