DefinitionRate of mortality from colorectal cancer per 100,000 population.
NumeratorNumber of deaths due to colorectal cancer for a specific time period.
DenominatorMid-year resident population for a specific time period.
Data Interpretation IssuesCancer cases do not include in situ. Mortality rates may vary from source to source. This may be due to using provisional data or using different population databases. The cancer mortality rates provided by the [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/chronic/pages/cancer/registry.aspx Alaska Cancer Registry] use population estimates provided by the [http://seer.cancer.gov/ Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER)] of the [http://www.cancer.gov/ National Cancer Institute]. In contrast, the [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/VitalStats/Pages/data/default.aspx Alaska Vital Statistics] uses [http://live.laborstats.alaska.gov/pop/index.cfm population estimates] provided by the State Demographer in the [http://laborstats.alaska.gov/ Research and Analysis Section] of the [http://labor.alaska.gov/ Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development].
Why Is This Important?Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in men (after prostate and lung) and in women (after breast and lung) in the country. In 2018 it is estimated that there will be 50,630 deaths in the U.S. from colorectal cancer.^1^
Rates of death from colorectal cancer increase with age. Men are more likely to die from colorectal cancer than are women, with the highest rate of death among Blacks. The percentage of colorectal cancer deaths is highest among people age 75-84, with a median age at death of 73 years.^1^
Mortality rates from colorectal cancer have been dropping in both men and women for the past 20 years. One likely reason is due to colorectal screening using colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy procedures. Polyps can be found and removed before they become cancerous. Screening also allows colorectal cancer to be found earlier when it is easier to treat.^2^
Mortality rates tell us about the rate at which people die of cancer. This rate is a function of the number of new cases each year and how long people live with the disease. When examined along with the rate of new incidence cases, cancer mortality rates can show if progress is being made in increasing cancer survival over time.[[br]]
1. [http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/colorect.html Cancer of the Colon and Rectum - SEER Stat Fact Sheets] [[br]]
2. [http://www.cancer.org/cancer/colonandrectumcancer/detailedguide/colorectal-cancer-key-statistics Key statistics for colorectal cancer]
Healthy People Objective: Reduce the colorectal cancer death rateU.S. Target: 14.5 deaths per 100,000 population
How Are We Doing?Colorectal cancer was the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in Alaska during 2012-2016.
In Alaska, the average colorectal cancer mortality rates for men are higher than for women, and men are about 1.3 times more likely to die of the disease. In 2016, the colorectal cancer mortality rate for men was 16.8 per 100,000 males, compared to the rate for women of 12.5 per 100,000 females.
Around the state for 1996-2016, the mortality rate for colorectal cancer ranged from a high of 45.7 per 100,000 population in Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan Census Area to a low of 9.1 in Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area. There were several boroughs/census areas with less than 6 cases so rates were not calculated.
By race for 1996-2016, Alaska Natives had a much higher mortality rate of colorectal cancer than any other race at 35.6 per 100,000 population, compared to 16.2 for Blacks, 14.0 for Whites, and 10.3 for Asians/Pacific Islanders.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?In recent years, the mortality rates from colorectal cancer in Alaska are similar to those for the U.S., both of which are decreasing with time. In 2016, Alaska's colorectal cancer mortality rate was 14.7 per 100,000 population compared with the U.S. rate of 14.0 in 2015.