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Background to the rapid increase in colorectal cancer among young Americans

Background to the rapid increase in colorectal cancer among young Americans


May 15, 2024 – Even though the overall incidence of colorectal cancer has been on the decline over the past two decades, one group stands out as an exception. He is an American under the age of 45.

Colorectal cancer cases increased by 333% in 15- to 19-year-olds and 185% in 20- to 24-year-olds from 1999 to 2020, according to a new study published at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2024. . A major medical conference held in Washington, DC.

Although these rates seem high, the number of people affected at these ages is still small compared to the prevalence among Americans over 45, said co-chairs Yale University School of Medicine's Department of Digestive Medicine. said Lauren Lane, M.D., professor of cardiovascular disease. News briefing previewing the study.

“This trend is alarming [but] “The actual number of colorectal cancer cases in children and teens is not high enough to suggest widespread screening,” agreed lead investigator Islam Mohamed, M.D., an internal medicine resident at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. .

For example, in 1999, 1 in 333,000 people aged 15 to 19 developed colorectal cancer. By 2020, colorectal cancer had become even more common, with 1 in 77,000 teenagers developing colorectal cancer.

At the same time, the number of infections among young adults aged 20 to 24 increased from less than 1 to 2 per 100,000 in 2020.

Even if the risk is relatively low in absolute numbers, experts are looking closely at why the risk is rising. It's also about raising awareness. If experienced by a person under the age of 45 Symptoms of colorectal cancer If you have symptoms such as blood in your stool, abdominal pain, or changes in your bowel habits, you should see your doctor, Lane says.

“If they have symptoms such as rectal bleeding, they shouldn't be taken lightly. The chances of them getting colon cancer are still pretty low…but they obviously shouldn't be ruled out completely,” Lane said. Told.

“Colorectal cancer is no longer considered a disease only for the elderly,” Mohamed said at a press conference. “It is important to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer.”

Mohammed et al. CDC Wonder Database, a central database of public health information. They calculated the increase by comparing percentages from 1999 and 2020.

Colorectal cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.Currently 3rd place Data from the American Cancer Society shows that the number of new cases and cancer-related deaths is increasing when some skin cancers are excluded.

Some risk factors can be changed

The incidence of colorectal cancer among young people is “consistently increasing. Environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors may also play a role,” Mohamed said. “It may also mean we're doing better. Perhaps we're screening patients even more and selecting patients at higher risk for colorectal cancer among younger populations.” Maybe he's doing a bigger job.”

There are ways to lower your risk of colon cancer, including weight loss.

“As we've seen, adopting a healthy lifestyle is a great approach to reducing the rising incidence of colorectal cancer.” metabolic syndrome its big [factor]” Maintain a balanced diet, get regular physical activity, and perhaps limit your alcohol intake, Mohamed said.

“There is also debate about antibiotic use and food additives, which do not definitely contribute to colorectal cancer risk, but they potentially do,” he said.

However, up to one-third of early-onset colorectal cancer cases are associated with factors that cannot be changed. Examples include a family history of colorectal cancer, the presence of inflammatory bowel disease, and certain types of cancer associated with genetic mutations. “If you think about it, most of those young people… [with colorectal cancer] There's probably a genetic syndrome,” Lane said. “Frankly, the big problem is finding better ways to identify families with genetic syndromes. That's probably the biggest message.”

Risks that vary by age

In addition to increases in the 15-19 and 20-24 age groups, the rates in 2020 compared to 1999 showed:

  • 68% increase for ages 25 to 29
  • 71% increase among 30 to 34 year olds
  • 58% increase for 35-39 year olds
  • 45% increase between ages 40 and 44

Mohamed said: “All these findings highlight the urgent need for increased public awareness and individualized screening approaches. In particular, colorectal cancer is one of the most significantly This is especially true among the younger generation, which has increased in recent years.”

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lowers recommended age for colorectal cancer screening from 50 to 45 Mohammed suggested more targeted screening tests for people under 45 who are at high risk.

“I also think it’s really helpful to stay informed about the rising incidence and the latest research and recommendations when it comes to colorectal cancer prevention and screening.”




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