HealthDay News — According to a report published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, colorectal cancer (CRC) rates among those aged 50 and older have fallen 32% since 2000, while deaths from the disease fell by 34%.

Among older adults, CRC rates are declining fastest in those aged 65 and older, and for tumors located in the distal colon. 

The decrease is slowest among those aged 50 to 64 and for rectal tumors, the authors found. 

For example, there was a 9% decline in the incidence of rectal tumors in men aged 50 to 64 and no decline among women in the same age group. But those rates dropped 38% in men and 41% in women who were over 65. Every state saw a decrease in CRC rates among people aged 50 and older, with a decline of more than 5% a year seen between 2009 and 2013 in 7 states: California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Rhode Island and South Dakota.

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The slowest declines were seen in states with the highest rates of CRC: Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi, according to the American Cancer Society report, which is published every 3 years. Following the pattern of incidence rates, CRC mortality rates decreased by 34% in people 50 and over during 2000 to 2014.

As screening rates went up, CRC rates declined. Between 2013 and 2015, CRC screening increased from 53 to 58% among those aged 50 to 64, and from 65 to 68% in people aged 65 and older. For both groups combined, screening rates climbed from 59 to 63% during those years. 

That increase translated into an additional 3.7 million adults aged 50 and older who were screened in 2015. If screening rates stay at that level, the authors estimated that 39,700 CRC cases and 37,200 deaths from the disease will be prevented through 2030.

One author disclosed financial ties to Ambry Genetics and EXACT Sciences and Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals.


Siegel RL, et al. “Colorectal Cancer Statistics, 2017”. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2017. doi: 10.3322/caac.21395 [Epub ahead of print]

“American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2017-2019.” American Cancer Society. 2017; 1-36.

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