Since the 1990s, more patients under 50 are learning they have colorectal cancer, but it’s not clear whether the increase in the number of diagnoses stems from people developing cancer at younger ages or whether physicians are simply finding the disease earlier.
The researchers looked at 29,532 cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed between 1975 and 2015 and occurring in patients ages 40 to 49.
They found that the cancer is currently being discovered at later stages than it was 25 years ago, meaning the risk of developing colon cancer at a younger age is likely increasing.
Now that we know there’s a greater risk of colorectal cancer in people of younger ages, Reinier Meester, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar in gastroenterology and hepatology said, researchers can turn their attention to prevention and detection.
For the over-55 crowd, colorectal cancer rates have been decreasing, likely because many over 50 undergo colonoscopies, during which physicians remove precancerous polyps.
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For more information
the Journal of the American Medical Association
Trends in Incidence and Stage at Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer in Adults Aged 40 Through 49 Years, 1975-2015
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