Colorectal cancer rates for U.S. adults declined an average 3.4% per year between 2001 and 2010, according to a new report by the American Cancer Society. There is a new initiative by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable to increase screening rates to 80 percent by 2018.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. Rates declined 3.9% per year for adults 50 and older, but increased 1.1% per year among younger adults.
The rate of decline has surged among those 65 and older, with the decline accelerating from 3.6% per year during 2001-2008 to 7.2% per year during 2008-2010. The “larger declines among Medicare-eligible seniors likely reflect higher rates of screening because of universal insurance coverage,” the authors write. About 55% of adults aged 50 to 64 reported having a recent colorectal cancer screening in 2010, compared with 64% of older adults.
Colorectal cancer mortality rates decreased about 3% per year over the decade, compared with about 2% per year in the 1990s. “Sustaining this hopeful trend will require concrete efforts to make sure all patients, particularly those who are economically disenfranchised, have access to screening and to the best care available,” said Richard Wender, M.D., chief cancer control officer for the ASC.