J Spinal Cord Med. 2020 Sep 1:1-6. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2020.1808294. Online ahead of print.
Context: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the US. There is paucity of data regarding CRC and the spinal cord injury (SCI) community. Persons with SCI have suboptimal rates of colonoscopies and face extensive barriers to care. The aim of our study was to compare CRC mortality in persons with SCI to CRC mortality in the general population. Design: A prospective follow-up study. Setting: Analysis of the National SCI database. Participants: 54,965 persons with SCI. Interventions: Not applicable. Outcome Measures: Current survival status and causes of death were determined. The expected number of CRC deaths was calculated for the general US population, using ICD-10 codes. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) were calculated as the ratio of observed to expected CRC deaths stratified by current age, sex, race, time post-injury and neurologic group. Results: The CRC mortality was 146 persons out of 54,965 persons with SCI. The overall SMR was determined to be 1.11 (95% CI [0.94, 1.31]). Among subgroups, one finding was significant and this was for patients with injury level C1-4 with an American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale Grade of A, B or C with an SMR of 1.68 ([95% CI [1.03-2.61]). Conclusion: Although persons with SCI receive suboptimal rates of preventative care screenings and report extensive barriers to care, overall, they are not at an increased risk of CRC mortality. The current recommendations for CRC screening should be continued for these individuals while reducing barriers to care.