Colorectal Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Identifying the Need for Earlier Screening for Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer

By: Dana A. Elya, MS, RD, CDN
Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2020

According to new research published in JAMA Network Open, based on data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries, there is a steep incidence increase in colorectal cancer between the ages of 49 and 50. The study, conducted by Jordan J. Karlitz, MD, of the Tulane University Schools of Medicine, New Orleans, and colleagues, suggests colorectal cancer screening guidelines may warrant revisiting.

“The findings of this study indicate that the burden of early-onset of colorectal cancer incidence for 45-49-year olds has been underestimated because asymptomatic colorectal cancers were not detected due to lack of screening,” noted study coauthor Xiao-Cheng Wu, MD, MPH, in a Louisiana State University (LSU) Health press release.

A total of 170,434 cases of colorectal cancer were analyzed from the SEER 18 registries, representing 28% of the U.S. population. The increase in the incidence of colorectal cancer from 49 to 50 years of age was 46.1%. The rate ratio incidence from 49 to 50 years of age was 1.46 and was significantly higher than earlier 1-year age transitions.

Increases in the rate of colorectal cancer at the transition between 49 and 50 years of age for localized colorectal cancers was 75.9% and for regional-stage colorectal cancers was 30.3% compared with other age transitions. The rate increases from 49 to 50 years of age were also seen in all U.S. regions, men and women, white and black populations, as well as for colon and rectal cancers.

“As the diagnosis of many of these colorectal cancers was delayed to ages after 50, advanced stage was more likely present at diagnosis,” commented Dr. Wu. “This study provides useful evidence for improving colorectal cancer screening policy.”

Disclosure: The authors’ disclosure information can be found at

By continuing to browse this site you permit us and our partners to place identification cookies on your browser and agree to our use of cookies to identify you for marketing. Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.