Colorectal Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Identifying Geographic ‘Hotspots’ of Mortality for Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2020

According to research published in the American Journal of Cancer Research, early-onset colorectal cancer appears to be more prevalent in men living in “hotspot” counties in the southern United States. Charles R. Rogers, PhD, of the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah, and colleagues found that young adult non-Hispanic Black men who reside in these counties may be at an increased risk of death related to colorectal cancer.

The study reviewed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1999 to 2017 and data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program involving men with colorectal cancer between the ages of 15 and 49. This analysis revealed 232 hotspot counties in the United States. A total of 92% of hotspots were located in the southern region, with concentrations of new cases occurring in counties along the Mississippi Delta as well as in west-central Appalachia and eastern Virginia/North Carolina.

Although men residing in hotspot counties had a higher risk of death associated with colorectal cancer (hazard ratio = 1.24, 95% confidence interval = 1.12–1.36), the disease mortality rates for non-Hispanic Black men and Hispanic men with early-onset disease were higher than those of other races. Health and social factors also appeared to play a role in this risk; for instance, 24% of the adult population residing in hotspot counties reported being a current smoker or having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime—a higher rate than estimates in all U.S. adults.

“Adults younger than 50 should have conversations with health-care providers about early detection screening for colorectal cancer,” noted Dr. Rogers in a University of Utah press release. “This is especially the case if they have any symptoms of colorectal cancer, a family history of the disease, or live in the ‘hotspot’ counties we have identified for early-onset colorectal cancer.”

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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