According to the newly released study from the American Cancer Society, there is a significant increase in the number of deaths in the United States that are tied with colon and rectal cancers, in patients younger than 50.
Considering that the regular screenings for this type of cancer isn’t usually recommended for people under the age of 50, those who do get diagnosed are usually in advanced stages, according to Dr. James Church, a colorectal surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
Church was involved with the new study but has said that he has also otices a trend in increasing death rates from colon and rectal cancers. Two of his patients, both 36 years old, died from the cancer spreading to their liver so it was inoperable.
“They both had young families, both little girls, and they lost their father in one case and their mother in the other, forever, because of this nasty disease when it’s advanced. It makes a big impact on me, and it makes me keenly interested in trying to solve this issue. Everybody in colorectal surgical circles is seeing increased incidence of colon cancer in the young, defined as younger than 50,” he commented.
It seems that the previous study suggests that young adults born in 1990 might have twice the chance of getting colon cancer than those people born in 1950. The reasons for this are still unknown.
Rebecca Siegel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society and lead author of the new study said: “We’ve known that there’s this increasing trend in people under 50 for incidence, but a lot of people were saying, ‘Hey, this is good news. This means people are getting more colonoscopies, and cancer is being detected earlier. But what (the new study) indicates is that the increase in incidence is a true increase in disease occurrence and not an artifact of more colonoscopy use. If it was just colonoscopy use, you wouldn’t expect to see an effect on death rates, or even you might see a decline in death rates.”
On a global level, colorectal cancer appears to be the third most frequent cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International.