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Reviewing Colorectal Cancer Stage at Diagnosis Trends

Maine Cancer Registry

Registry data and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from the past decade have been used for several years to inform and motivate the Maine Cancer Consortium, cancer programs, policy makers, grantors, and citizens.

The registry reviewed colorectal cancer stage at diagnosis data in four time blocks between 1995 and 2005 and found a continuous increase in percent local stage, a continuous decrease in percent regional stage, and stable distant disease. During this same time frame, age-adjusted rates of colorectal cancer mortality declined in Maine.

BRFSS data on Maine adults aged 50 years and older showed an increase in those reporting ever having had sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy from 42% in 1999 to 62% in 2005.

By 2004–2005, 47% of colorectal cancer in Maine was localized at diagnosis compared with 40% for the U.S. population, according to national data showing a direct relationship between stage at diagnosis and survival.

Maine Cancer Registry data were used in Maine's successful application to CDC for funding to implement colorectal cancer screening opportunities for low-income and uninsured Mainers throughout the state. The data helped identify the regions and counties where incidence or mortality are highest (which correlated with BRFSS data), suggesting where the comprehensive cancer control and colorectal cancer screening programs might focus their efforts.

Chart showing colorectal cancer stage at diagnosis trends in Maine from 1995 to 2005. Data are in the table below the chart.
Colorectal Cancer Stage at Diagnosis Trends, Maine, 1995–2005
Stage at Diagnosis 1995–19971 1998–20001 2001–20032 2004–20052
Local 36.42% 39.15% 46.91% 47.22%
Regional 40.12% 37.08% 30.93% 30.31%
Distant 19.91% 15.30% 16.42% 16.88%
Unknown 6.54% 8.48% 5.74% 5.60%

1SEER Summary Stage 1977
2SEER Summary Stage 2000
Source: Maine Cancer Registry (1995–2005)
NPCR call for data 2009

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