dglobalnews.com Colorectal cancer rates rising in Gen X and millennials, study finds
Published: Wed, March 01, 2017
Medical | By Benjamin Edwards

Colorectal cancer rates rising in Gen X and millennials, study finds

Researchers at the American Cancer Society conducted a retrospective analysis of nearly half a million patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1974 and 2013 and found that people in their twenties today have a much higher risk of developing the illness than in previous generations. They found that colon cancer rates have been increasing by one to two percent each year from the mid-1980s through 2013 in adults 20- to 39-years-old. Colon cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in men and women in the US, according to the American Cancer Society, and screenings like colonoscopies are part of the reason why so many cases can be diagnosed - often when the cancer is still treatable.

"Trends in young people are a bellwether for the future disease burden", said Siegel.

In recognition of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which takes place in March, The Valley Hospital, in conjunction with the Wyckoff Family YMCA and National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT), will be hosting its third annual Colon Cancer Awareness Day Fair.

Rates of colon and rectal cancer are rising sharply among young and middle-aged adults in the United States but doctors have yet to pinpoint why, researchers said Tuesday. For their study, researchers looked at cases of colorectal cancer in people over 20 from 1974 to 2013.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the USA and the second leading cause in men, according to the ACS.

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The study, which included scientists at the NCI, didn't determine the reason for the shift.

They point out in 2013 in the U.S., 10,400 new cases of colorectal cancer (CRC) were diagnosed in people in their 40s, with an additional 12,800 cases diagnosed in people in their early 50s. As a result, three in ten rectal cancer diagnoses are now in patients younger than age 55.

"So it would be premature to recommend the initiation of screening at a younger age", Chan said. The researchers called for expanding screening for the disease earlier in life.

These increases were occurring even as rates of these same cancers were falling among older adults, due in large part to better cancer screening, the team said.

In the meantime, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - so building healthy habits while you're still young isn't just helpful to stave off disease now, but guard yourself against longterm risk for a wide variety of health conditions, including cancer. Starting in about 1974, the rate has been increasing by about 3 percent a year among people aged 20 to 29. In contrast, rectal cancer rates in adults age 55 and older have generally been declining for at least 40 years, well before widespread screening. In adults 40 to 54, rates increased by 0.5 to one per cent per a year from the mid-1990s through 2013.

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