February 19, 2018

New research suggests more young adults dying from colon cancer

10 August 2017, 01:09 | Darrell Baldwin

An alarming new study just came out Tuesday that shows more young people are dying from colorectal cancer- and no one knows why

An alarming new study just came out Tuesday that shows more young people are dying from colorectal cancer- and no one knows why

For those born in 1990 or later, their chances of getting colon cancer have doubled compared to their parents, ABC News states.

"However, if this were the primary explanation, it would have been expected to cause an increase in colorectal cancer rates among blacks as well as whites", said Chan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard.

"We do not have an answer for why colorectal cancer is increasing in whites but not in blacks. We have certainly changed our diet from the 1950's to 1990's".

Researchers said the increase colorectal cancer deaths in people in their 50s was particularly unexpected since screening - which can both prevent colon cancer and detect it early - has been recommended starting at age 50 for decades.

Berlin also noted that a tale tell sign of this could be "if your bowel habits change and stay consistently changed".

Follow guidelines for screening.

"At this time, the data do not support a call for earlier screening, since the absolute risk of developing colorectal cancer at a young age, even among whites, remains very low", Chan said.

Disclosures: The American Cancer Society funded this study. Fumihiko Wakao, director of the Center for Cancer Control and Information Services at the National Cancer Center, commented that the results are not at a level conducive to patients' selection of a hospital, but added, "We were able to put out something people can refer to, enabling them to see what type of cancer patients are common at which hospital, and accordingly, what the treatment results are like".

For the current study, ACS investigators led by Rebecca Siegel, MPH analyzed CRC mortality among persons aged 20 to 54 years by race from 1970 through 2014 using data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

The U.S. mortality rate for colorectal cancer for ages 20 to 54 fell from 6.3 per 100,000 in 1970 to 3.9 in 2004.

Overall mortality rates among those aged 20 to 54 years declined from 6.3 per 100,000 in 1970 to 3.9 per 100,000 in 2004, then increased by 1% (95% CI, 0.7-1.4) annually to 4.3 per 100,000 in 2014. Meanwhile, the rate rose 1.6 percent a year for white thirty-somethings, and about 1 percent annually for whites in their early 50s, the researchers found.

Previous studies haven't examined these younger people, Siegel said. "If you have declining death rates for cancer, it's always a good thing". The rise was confined to white individuals according to the report, which appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For more on colon cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

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