Declines in Colorectal Cancer Incidence in Older Persons Are Slowing

Declines in Colorectal Cancer Incidence in Older Persons Are Slowing

Douglas K. Rex, MD, MASGE, reviewing Murphy CC, et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023 Jun 10.

This study used SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) data to update colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and mortality trends from 1992 to 2019.

The well-known trends of increased CRC incidence and mortality among younger persons mean that Americans aged 50 to 54 are now experiencing increased morbidity and mortality. Rapid declines in incidence in older persons, documented between 2000 and 2010, began to slow around 2010. For example, in 60- to 64-year-olds, CRC incidence decreased by 3% per year from 1998 to 2011 but decreased by <1% per year after 2011. For 70- to 74-year-olds, incidence rates decreased by 6% from 2008 to 2013 but 3.5% per year from 2013 to 2019. 

Mortality trends typically follow the incidence trends. Overall 5-year survival improved by 0.55% per year until 2005, but no further improvement occurred after 2005.

Douglas K. Rex, MD, FASGE


If accurate, these results underscore the importance of improving screening rates across all eligible age groups.

Note to readers: At the time we reviewed this paper, its publisher noted that it was not in final form and that subsequent changes might be made.


Murphy CC, Lee JK, Liang PS, May FP, Zaki TA. Declines in colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates slow among older adults. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023 Jun 10. (Epub ahead of print) (

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