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Using Data for Colorectal Cancer Control

Kentucky Cancer Registry

The Kentucky Cancer Registry recognized that colorectal cancer incidence and mortality were increasing in the state, and that only about one-third of the eligible population had been screened for colorectal cancer. In addition, the Registry discovered that colorectal cancer was the second most common cause of cancer death in men and women combined. Since colorectal cancer has known screening and early detection methods, the Registry presented the data to state and regional cancer control representatives, encouraging them to implement cancer control activities to address this problem.

Since the Registry first identified the problem using 2001 incidence and mortality data, the state of Kentucky began working collaboratively to address this issue. The Registry has continued to highlight the need for intervention and has monitored progress toward addressing the need using incidence, mortality, and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data.

In partnership with state and regional comprehensive cancer control programs (the Kentucky Cancer Consortium and the Kentucky Cancer Program), Kentucky has reduced the burden of colorectal cancer significantly. The percentage of eligible Kentuckians who were screened with sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy rose from 34.7% in 1999 to 63.7% in 2008 (BRFSS). Colorectal cancer incidence among men and women combined fell from 68.5 per 100,000 population in 2001 to 57.1 per 100,000 population in 2006, and mortality fell from 22.4 to 18.9 per 100,000 during the same time period. Both of these declines are statistically significant.

Using registry data to decide to focus on colorectal cancer has resulted in fewer Kentuckians being diagnosed with and dying from colorectal cancer. In addition, this success provides opportunities to address other priority areas in the cancer continuum using cancer registry data.

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