Document Type: Research Articles
Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Medicine, Ampang Hospital, Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Clinical Research Center, Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital, Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia.
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Islamic Science University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Sultana Bahiya Hospital, Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia.
Background: While the world witnesses an increasing trend of young-onset colorectal cancer (CRC), the information regarding the impact of age on CRC is limited in Malaysia. This study aimed to compare the incidence, clinic-demographic profiles and survival rates of CRC between patients above and under 50 years of age in northern Malaysia. Methods: This was a registry-based, cross-sectional study. All the CRC cases reported by 18 hospitals to the National Cancer Patient Registry - Colorectal Cancer (NCPR-CC) between January 2007 and December 2017 were included in the analysis. The patients were categorized by age into the above-50 and under-50 groups. The changes in the age-standardized incidence and mortality rates of both the age groups were determined using the time-series analysis, and the impact of age on the mortality risk was assessed using the Cox regression analysis. Results: Of the 6,172 CRC patients enrolled in the NCPR-CC, 893 (14.5%) were in the under-50 group. As compared with their older counterparts, the patients in the under-50 group were more likely to be female, be of Malay ethnicity, be non-smokers, have a family history of CRC, and present late for treatment. The age-standardized incidence and mortality rates of CRC in the under-50 group remained stable over the years, while a decreasing trend was clearly seen in the mortality rates of CRC in the above-50 group (p=0.003). Nevertheless, the two age groups also did not differ in the mortality risk (adjusted hazards ratio: 1.10; 95% CI: 0.90, 1.36). Conclusion: Young-onset CRC constituted a considerable proportion of CRC cases in Malaysia. However, in contrast with the findings of most studies, it demonstrated neither an uptrend in age-standardized incidence rates nor a higher mortality risk. Our findings suggest the need to upscale and lower the recommended age for CRC screening in Malaysia.