Article | May 12, 2023

Fast Facts: Colorectal Cancer

GettyImages-1397377382 colorectal cancer

Up-to-date insights on disease, treatment, and care based on real-world data from Komodo's full-stack healthcare analytics platform.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. While the overall incidence and mortality from CRC have steadily declined over the past decades, improvements have not been made for everyone: The rates of CRC cases and deaths have increased in younger patient populations, and stark location- and race-based disparities continue to put many Americans at higher risk.

Concerningly, Komodo research has consistently identified a massive 90% drop in colonoscopies during the spring of 2020, driven by pandemic mitigation efforts. And, while screening rates have returned to the normal pre-pandemic baseline, they have not exceeded the baseline and it’s likely that significant gaps in screening remain unaddressed. During this year’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Komodo is joining calls to take bold action, targeting patient populations that are at greatest risk.

The White House Cancer Moonshot Initiative will convene tomorrow to discuss solutions to gaps in CRC screening and care, focusing on targetable, systemic opportunities for improvement. Our 2021 analysis uncovered the importance of provider awareness in identifying red-flag symptoms in younger patients who are not yet at the age for recommended screening. And, in a 2022 research brief, we identified several points of impact that could help narrow existing disparities in treatment for Black patients. Increased public and provider awareness of CRC symptoms and risk factors may be especially important as the CRC community works to address gaps in care and compensate for the profound drop in visits in 2020.

In our second Fast Facts, a series detailing recent insights on disease, treatment, and care, we’re highlighting CRC. This deadly and prevalent disease is rapidly evolving, with a shifting landscape of risk. For this reason, up-to-date insights will play a crucial role in moving the needle forward to save lives. The most effective public and provider awareness campaigns are shaped by real-world evidence and factors that impact patients every day, from demographic-specific red-flag symptoms to screening adherence and coverage. Komodo’s insights, based on high-fidelity, real-world data, can help inform the work of federal and state agencies, policymakers, advocacy organizations, payers, drugmakers, and academic institutions alike.

We applaud President Biden's call to action for CRC screening. In tackling healthcare’s biggest challenges, the most impactful solutions are possible when the entire industry comes together as a united front, with the shared goal of reducing the burden of disease.

Check out more of our work on CRC in our research brief on racial disparities and on differences in diagnosing a younger patient population.

To see more articles like this, follow Komodo Health on Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube, and visit Insights on our website.

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