Geographic variation in colorectal cancer incidence and mortality, age of onset, and stage at diagnosis among American Indian and Alaska Native people, 1990-2009

Am J Public Health. 2014 Jun;104 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):S404-14. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301654. Epub 2014 Apr 22.


Objectives: We characterized estimates of colorectal cancer (CRC) in American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) compared with Whites using a linkage methodology to improve AI/AN classification in incidence and mortality data.

Methods: We linked incidence and mortality data to Indian Health Service enrollment records. Our analyses were restricted to Contract Health Services Delivery Area counties. We analyzed death and incidence rates of CRC for AI/AN persons and Whites by 6 regions from 1999 to 2009. Trends were described using linear modeling.

Results: The AI/AN colorectal cancer incidence was 21% higher and mortality 39% higher than in Whites. Although incidence and mortality significantly declined among Whites, AI/AN incidence did not change significantly, and mortality declined only in the Northern Plains. AI/AN persons had a higher incidence of CRC than Whites in all ages and were more often diagnosed with late stage CRC than Whites.

Conclusions: Compared with Whites, AI/AN individuals in many regions had a higher burden of CRC and stable or increasing CRC mortality. An understanding of the factors driving these regional disparities could offer critical insights for prevention and control programs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alaska / epidemiology
  • Alaska / ethnology
  • Cause of Death
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Death Certificates
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Inuits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Population Surveillance
  • Registries
  • United States / epidemiology