Colorectal cancer death rates on the rise in adults — 5 insights

Colorectal cancer death rates in 50-year-old adults sharply increased, according to a new study in JAMA, CNN reports.

Here's what you should know:

1. The study, conducted by the American Cancer Society, was a follow-up study in response to a separate study indicating that colon and rectal cancer incidence rates were on the rise in adults under 50 years old. Researchers are unclear about why colorectal cancer and mortality rates are spiking.

2. Researchers found colon and rectal cancer mortality rates among 20- to 54-years-olds declined from 1970 to 2004. Mortality rates then increased by 1 percent annually from 2004 to 2014. For this cohort, the mortality rate is at 4.3 people per 100,000 through 2014.

3. Researchers reported the increasing mortality rate is confined to the white population. Among African Americans, mortality rate has declined over the entire 45 years period.

4. Researchers caution while the rate is increasing, it's not yet to alarming levels.

5. Lead study author Rebecca Siegel, MD, said rising mortality rate is indicative of a "true increase in disease occurrence and not an artifact of more colonoscopy use."

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