The Relationship Between Number of Comorbidities and Age of Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis in US Male Veteran Population: A Single-Center Experience

Abdulfatah Issak, Faysal Abdulle, Kyle Porter, Sangeeta Agrawal


Background: Comorbidities of tobacco and alcohol abuse and obesity are major risk factors for colon carcinogenesis. These risk factors are considered the most prevalent modifiable risk factors linked to malignancies including colorectal cancer (CRC) in both high- and low-income countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between number of comorbidities and age of CRC diagnosis in US male veteran population.

Methods: A retrospective single-center study using chart review and the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes to identify patients with a diagnosis of CRC and comorbidities of tobacco abuse, alcohol abuse, hypertension (HTN), diabetes mellitus (DM) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). The primary aim was to study effect of these comorbidities on age of CRC diagnosis. Univariable and then multivariable logistic regression models were fit to age at diagnosis for each patient variable.

Results: A total of 362 patients were included in the study. The mean age of CRC diagnosis was 66.8. Eighty percent were Caucasians, and 20% were African Americans. African Americans were diagnosed with CRC 3.8 years younger compared to Caucasians (P = 0.01). Controlling for other variables in the multivariable model, age at CRC diagnosis was significantly lower for African Americans and for patients with higher total counts for tobacco and alcohol abuse and obesity. HTN, DM and CKD were not associated with a lower age of CRC diagnosis.

Conclusions: Tobacco and alcohol abuse and obesity have negative cumulative effect on age of CRC diagnosis in US male veteran population. Patients with increasing number of these comorbidities are associated with significantly lower age of CRC diagnosis. It is important to identify veterans with these comorbidities and encourage CRC screening.

Gastroenterol Res. 2020;13(2):66-72


Colorectal cancer; Comorbidities; Alcohol; Tobacco; Diabetes; Age of colorectal cancer diagnosis

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