New study reveals rising colorectal cancer rates for young and middle-aged adults

Last Updated on March 14, 2017 by cassnetwork

NDIANAPOLIS—Colorectal cancer is the third-most diagnosed cancer and cause of cancer-related death among men and women in Indiana and the United States. As rates rise nationally, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reminds Hoosiers to consider getting screened for colorectal cancer as part of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Researchers at the American Cancer Society recently found colorectal cancer incidence rates are rising in young and middle-aged adults, including those in their early 50s. They also found the risk of colorectal cancer has increased for every generation since 1950.

“These rising rates in young and middle-aged adults highlight the need for more awareness of the importance of cancer screenings,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “As we’re learning more about how colorectal cancer affects us all, early detection can be a life saver for Hoosiers.”

Approximately 65 percent of Hoosiers meet recommendations for colorectal cancer screening. To reduce risks, the ISDH is participating in the 80% by 2018 initiative, which aims to increase colorectal cancer screening rates to 80 percent by the year 2018.

According to the Indiana State Cancer Registry, approximately 3,079 individuals were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 1,177 colorectal cancer-related deaths occurred in Indiana during 2014. The two greatest risk factors for developing colorectal cancer are sex and age, with more than half of Indiana’s cases being diagnosed among men from 2010-2014, and 90 percent of cases occurring in residents aged 50 and older. Additional risk factors include:

  • Race: In Indiana, African-Americans have higher colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates compared to whites.
  • Smoking: According to The Health Consequences of Smoking50 Years of Progress, smoking is a known cause of colorectal cancer and increases the failure rate of treatment for all cancers.
  • Diabetes: People with type 2 diabetes (usually non-insulin dependent) have an increased risk of colorectal cancer and tend to have a less favorable prognosis after diagnosis.
  • Personal or family history: Those with colorectal cancer are more likely to develop new cancers in other areas of the colon and rectum. People with a history of colorectal cancer in a first-degree relative are at increased risk. About 5 percent to 10 percent of people who develop colorectal cancer have inherited gene changes that can cause family cancer syndromes and lead to them getting the disease.
  • Modifiable risk factors: Several lifestyle-related factors such as diet, weight and exercise, have been strongly linked to colorectal cancer.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults between ages 50 and 75—get screened for colorectal cancer, with the decision to be screened after 75 made on an individual basis. If you’re older than 75, ask your doctor if screening is needed. Those at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer should begin screening at a younger age, and may need to be tested more frequently. Several screening tests can be used to find colorectal cancer. For average-risk individuals, depending on the test, screening intervals vary from one to 10 years.

To learn more about the 80% by 2018 initiative—or what you can do to help promote it, visit For more on colorectal cancer, visit the Indiana Cancer Consortium website at The ICC is a statewide network of partnerships whose mission is to reduce the cancer burden in Indiana through the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive plan that addresses cancer across the continuum from prevention through palliation. The ICC is open to all organizations and individuals interested in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, quality of life, data collection and advocacy regarding cancer-related issues.

For information on Indiana’s free tobacco cessation program, visit, or call 1-800-QuitNow.

Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at for important health and safety information or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at

SOURCE: News release from Indiana State Department of Health