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Health Indicator Report of Colorectal Cancer Deaths

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Utah and the U.S. When national cancer-related deaths are estimated separately for males and females, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death behind lung and breast cancer for females and behind lung and prostate cancer for males. Deaths from colorectal cancer can be substantially reduced when precancerous polyps are detected early and removed. When colorectal cancer is diagnosed early, 90% of patients survive at least five years(1). Several scientific organizations recommend that routine screening for colorectal cancer begin at age 50 for adults at average risk. Persons at high risk may need to begin screening at a younger age. Routine screening can include either annual fecal occult blood test (FOBT), and/or flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years or colonoscopy every 10 years or double-contrast barium enema every 5 to 10 years. A randomized clinical trial has demonstrated that annual screening with FOBT can reduce colorectal cancer deaths by 33 percent in individuals over age 50(2). The National Cancer Institute advises each individual to discuss risk factors and screening options with his or her health care provider. Medicare and many insurance plans now help to pay for colorectal cancer screening.

Colorectal Cancer Deaths by Ethnicity, Utah, 2011-2013


Codes used to define colorectal cancer: ICD-10 C18-21. Age-adjusted to U.S. 2000 standard population.

Data Sources

  • Utah Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health
  • Population Estimates by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for Counties in Utah, U.S. Bureau of the Census, IBIS Version 2013


The rate of death from cancer of the colon or rectum (ICD-10: C18-C21) per 100,000 persons.


The number of deaths due to colorectal cancer for a given time period (ICD-10: C18-C21).


The population in Utah or the U.S. for a given time period.

Healthy People Objective C-5:

Reduce the colorectal cancer death rate
U.S. Target: 14.5 deaths per 100,000 population
State Target: 11 deaths per 100,000 population

Other Objectives

Utah's 42 Community Health Indicators CSTE Chronic Disease Indicators

How Are We Doing?

Utah's age-adjusted colorectal cancer mortality rate ranged from 20.1 per 100,000 population in 1980 to 10.9 per 100,000 population in 2013. Colorectal cancer mortality rates increased with age, and women aged 65 to 74 had significantly lower mortality rates than Utah men in this age group (38.1 per 100,000 women compared to 47.2 per 100,000 men for 2009-2013 combined). Among health districts between 2009 and 2013, the age-adjusted colorectal cancer mortality rate ranged from a high of 16.8 per 100,000 population in TriCounty Health District to a low of 9.1 per 100,000 population in Bear River Health District. Looking at Utah Small Areas between 2009 and 2013 (excluding those without complete data), Logan had the lowest colorectal cancer mortality rate (5.2 per 100,000 population) and Provo South had the highest (22.3 per 100,000 population).

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

The Utah age-adjusted colorectal cancer mortality rate has been consistently lower than the rate for the U.S. For example, in 2011 (the most recent national data available from the SEER), Utah's colorectal cancer mortality rate was 11.6 per 100,000 population compared with the U.S. rate of 15.1 per 100,000 population.

What Is Being Done?

The 2000 Utah legislature approved a resolution encouraging private health insurance companies and employers to include insurance coverage for the screening and detection of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers. In June 2002, the Utah Cancer Control Program (UCCP) received a grant from the CDC to launch a statewide education campaign. In 2009, the UCCP received a CDC grant to begin offering colorectal cancer screenings to low-income and uninsured Utahns. In addition to the screening program, monies were used for educational and promotional activities. Education efforts serve to increase awareness about colorectal cancer and promote screening and early detection for Utahns aged 50 and older. In addition, the Utah Department of Health initiated the Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN), a statewide partnership whose goal is to reduce the burden of cancer. The mission of the UCAN is to lower cancer incidence and mortality in Utah through collaborative efforts directed toward cancer prevention and control. As a result of this planning process, objectives and strategies have been developed by community partners regarding the early detection of cervical, testicular, prostate, skin, breast, and colorectal cancers as well as the promotion of physical activity, healthy eating habits, and smoking cessation.

Available Services

The Utah Cancer Control Program offers free fecal occult blood (FOBT) tests to detect blood in the stool. This test is recommended yearly and can be performed at home. Utahns can call 1-888-222-2542 to request a free FOBT kit sent to their home.

Health Program Information

Screening for colorectal cancer has recently been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a priority public health issue. The CDC and partners launched a national education campaign, Screen for Life, in March 1999. In June 2002, the UCCP received a grant from the CDC to launch a statewide education campaign. Since then, additional funds have been awarded annually and public education efforts have continued. Education efforts serve to increase awareness about colorectal cancer and promote screening and early detection for adults aged 50 and older. The UCCP monitors the use of colorectal cancer screening tests by Utahns through the statewide Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which is conducted annually.
Page Content Updated On 11/05/2014, Published on 12/04/2014
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Fri, 27 November 2015 4:45:49 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:46:09 MDT