Low colorectal cancer survival in the Mountain West state of Nevada: A population-based analysis

Karen E. Callahan, Carmen P. Ponce, Chad L. Cross, Francisco S. Sy, Paulo S. Pinheiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third greatest cancer burden in the United States. The remarkably diverse Mountain West state of Nevada has uncharacteristically high CRC mortality compared to other Western states. We aimed to study the determinants of the CRC excess burden by using data from the Nevada Central Cancer Registry from 2003–2013. Five-year cause-specific age-adjusted survival from colorectal cancer was calculated and stratified by sex, race/ethnicity and region of Nevada. Cox Proportional Hazards regression modelling was used to study the impact of demographic, social, and clinical factors on CRC survival in Nevada, assessing follow-up as accurately as possible. The extent to which differences in survival can be explained by receipt of stage-appropriate treatment was also assessed. 12,413 CRC cases from 2003–2013 in Nevada were analyzed. Five-year CRC survival was low: 56.0% (95% CI: 54.6–57.5) among males and 59.5% (95% CI: 58.0–61.1) among females; significantly lower than national 5-year survival of 65.1% and 66.5%, respectively. Low survival was driven by populous Southern Nevada; after adjustment for all covariates, Southern Nevadans were at 17% higher risk of death than their counterparts in Northwestern Nevada (HR:1.17; 95% CI:1.08–1.27). Many patients did not receive stage-appropriate treatment, although this only partly explained the poor survival, uniformly low for every race/ethnicity in Nevada. The observed disparity for this one state within a single nation merits public health attention; regardless of the state or region of residence, all Americans deserve equal opportunity for optimum health outcomes in the face of a cancer diagnosis. The current study provides baseline information critical to clinicians, public health professionals, and all relevant stakeholders as they attempt to discern why Nevada’s outcomes are vastly divergent from its neighboring Western states and make plans for remediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0221337
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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