Colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence is increasing among young adults below screening age, despite the effectiveness of screening in older populations. Individuals with diabetes mellitus are at increased risk of early-onset CRC. We aimed to determine how many years earlier than the general population patients with diabetes with/without family history of CRC reach the threshold risk at which CRC screening is recommended to the general population.
A nationwide cohort study (follow-up:1964-2015) involving all Swedish residents born after 1931 and their parents was carried out using record linkage of Swedish Population Register, Cancer Registry, National Patient Register, and Multi-Generation Register. Of 12,614,256 individuals who were followed between 1964 and 2015 (51% men; age range at baseline 0-107 years), 162,226 developed CRC, and 559,375 developed diabetes. Age-specific 10-year cumulative risk curves were used to draw conclusions about how many years earlier patients with diabetes reach the 10-year cumulative risks of CRC in 50-year-old men and women (most common age of first screening), which were 0.44% and 0.41%, respectively. Diabetic patients attained the screening level of CRC risk earlier than the general Swedish population. Men with diabetes reached 0.44% risk at age 45 (5 years earlier than the recommended age of screening). In women with diabetes, the risk advancement was 4 years. Risk was more pronounced for those with additional family history of CRC (12-21 years earlier depending on sex and benchmark starting age of screening). The study limitations include lack of detailed information on diabetes type, lifestyle factors, and colonoscopy data.
Using high-quality registers, this study is, to our knowledge, the first one that provides novel evidence-based information for risk-adapted starting ages of CRC screening for patients with diabetes, who are at higher risk of early-onset CRC than the general population.