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Decreased colorectal cancer incidence and incidence-based mortality in the screening-age population of Ontario

Paszat LF, Sutradhar R, Corn E, Tinmouth J, Baxter NN, Rabeneck L. J Can Assoc Gastroenterol. 2021; 4(3):146–55. Epub 2020 Oct 15. DOI:

Background and Aims — We aimed to evaluate trends in Ontario, Canada, 2002 to 2016, in uptake of colorectal evaluative procedures, colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and incidence-based mortality in the colorectal screening-age population.

Methods — We defined the screening age-eligible population as persons 51 to 74 years of age with ≥1 year eligibility for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, excluding those with a diagnosis of CRC in the Ontario Cancer Registry (OCR) prior to age 50 or January 1, 2002. We computed annual up-to-date status with colorectal evaluative procedures from billing claims, and CRC incidence from the OCR. In order to compute incidence-based CRC mortality, we included persons with a first diagnosis of CRC between the ages of 51 and 74, diagnosed between January 1, 1992 and December 31, 2001, still alive and <75 years of age on January 1, 2002, based on cause of death from the OCR. Overall, age-stratified and sex-stratified trends were evaluated by Cochran–Armitage trend tests.

Results — Persons up to date with colorectal evaluative procedures increased from 628,214/2,782,061 (22.6%) in 2002 to 2,584,570/4,179,789 (62.2%) in 2016. CRC incidence fell from 129.3/100,000 in 2002 to 94.54/100,000 in 2016, and incidence-based CRC mortality fell from 40.8/100,000 to 24.1/100,000. Decreasing trends in overall and stratified incidence and mortality were all significant, except among persons 51 to 54 years old.

Conclusions — There was continued increase in persons up-to-date with colorectal evaluative procedures, and significant decrease in CRC incidence and incidence-based CRC mortality from 2002 through 2016.

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