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Good News About Colon Cancer

By Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, OCN, FAAN
In March 2014, the American Cancer Society (ACS) reported that he incidence of colon cancer in older adults decreased by 30% over the past ten years and noted that this significant decrease coincides with a tripling of the colonoscopy rate. The incidence of colon cancer as well as colon cancer’s mortality rate decreased by 3.4% annually from 2001 to 2010. The colposcopy rate for adults aged 50-85 increased from 19% in 2000 to 55% in 2010.

The findings came from an analysis of data from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, and the National Center for Health Statistics. Although there has been an overall decrease in colon cancer incidence and mortality, disparities continue. For instance, from 2006 to 2010, the incidence of colon cancer was highest in non-Hispanic blacks (63.8 cases per 100,000 in men and 47.8 per 100,000 in women). In comparison, Asian/Pacific Islanders had the lowest rates (40.8/100,000 in men, 31/100,000 in women). Similar disparities exist for colon cancer mortality, which ranged from 29.4/100,000 in black men and 19.4/100,000 in black women to 13.1 for Asian/Pacific Islander men and 9.7/100,000 for Asian/Pacific Islander women. Despite the improving statistics, colon cancer will remain the third most common cancer in the United States and it is predicted that it will remain third in cancer mortality. During 2014, about 137,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are expected to be diagnosed (71,830 in men, 65,000 in women) and 50,000 people will die of the disease (26,270 men, 24,040 women).
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