FEATURE: Colorectal Cancer
Jamie Jarboe, M.D.
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) and is the third leading cause of cancer deaths. According to the American Cancer Society and the SEER database, around 4-5% of men and women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in his or her lifetime. Colorectal cancer accounts for 8% of all new cancer diagnoses and about 8% of all cancer deaths as well.
The Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database estimates that 65% of patients with colorectal cancer will survive to five years. Outcomes are, of course, better in patients with early stage disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that 87-92% of patients with Stage I colorectal cancer will live to five years after diagnosis. For stage two the percentage is 80-87%, 84-89% for Stage IIIA, 69-71% for Stage IIIB and 53-58% of patients with stage IIIC disease. Those patients with metastatic disease will make it to five years post-diagnosis in only about 11-12% of the cases. The death rate for colorectal cancer has been decreasing for the last few decades across the country. There does, however, remain areas of the country (and Kentucky included) that remain hot spots for the disease with increased levels of mortality. Correlating with increased mortality is often a finding of decreased screening. One such hot spot was identified in 2015 in west central Appalachia which includes Eastern Kentucky.
Colorectal Cancer in Kentucky
Based upon the most recent published data colorectal cancer represents the second most common malignancy in Kentucky behind only lung cancer. In 2001 Kentucky ranked 50th in colorectal cancer screening with a dismal screening rate of 34.7%. The state was able to increase the screening rate into the 65% range with an improvement in ranking to 23 over 10 years from 2001-2011. This resulted in a 16% decreased incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer.
Click circles below to see 2015 statistics on Colorectal Cancer.