Gender differences in colorectal cancer: implications for age at initiation of screening

Br J Cancer. 2007 Mar 12;96(5):828-31. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603628. Epub 2007 Feb 20.


There is some variation regarding age at initiation of screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) between countries, but the same age of initiation is generally recommended for women and men within countries, despite important gender differences in the epidemiology of CRC. We have explored whether, and to what extent, these differences would be relevant regarding age at initiation of CRC screening. Using population-based cancer registry data from the US and national mortality statistics from different countries, we looked at cumulative 10-year incidence and mortality of CRC reached among men at ages 50, 55, and 60, and found that women mainly reached equivalent levels when 4 to 8 years older. The gender differences were remarkably constant across populations and over time. These patterns suggest that gender differentiation of age at initiation may be worthwhile to utilise CRC-screening resources more efficiently.

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • SEER Program*
  • Sex Factors