People born in the 90's face increased risk of colon cancers

Born in the '90s? Your colon cancer risk could be rising

The research is the latest to show a steady increase in new diagnoses of colorectal cancer among adults under 50. Compared to people born around 1950, those born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer, and quadruple the risk of developing rectal cancer. Researchers at the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute conducted the study. There were 490,305 cases included in the analysis.

They found that people born in the 1990s are about twice as likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer as people born in the middle of the last century. In those 40 to 54, rates rose by 0.5% to 1% per year from the mid-1990s.

A third of every colorectal diagnosis involves a patient under the age of 55. "We don't know how long it takes for the effects of obesity to act on cancer promotion", she added. Experts say colon and rectal cancer can be inherited and can also be influenced by the high-fat, low fiber diets that are common in the Western world. Still, Siegel notes that an American Cancer Society committee is now reviewing recommendations.

Most young adults are tested only after symptoms develop, "and usually by the time you have symptoms, the disease is more advanced", Siegel said. I do see this happen in my practice and it can lead to a patient being diagnosed later on, with more advanced disease. Young people often are diagnosed at a later stage because, unlike older Americans, they aren't getting screened, and doctors don't necessarily suspect cancer, Azad noted.

The analysis included almost 500,000 cases, according to the study, published today (Feb. 28) in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Siegel said the timing of this colorectal cancer trend parallels that of the obesity trend in the U.S.

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And whatever is driving the study results may be due to changes in diet, lifestyle or other environmental factors, said Chan, who is also an associate professor in the department of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The researchers called for expanding screening for the disease earlier in life.

Even with the rise, the number of young people affected by colorectal cancers remains relatively low-about one in 100,000 people in their 20s will get colon cancer in a year compared to 50 in 100,000 for people in their 50s and 60s.

For the study, Siegel and her colleagues collected data on more than 490,000 US men and women aged 20 and older who were diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer between 1974 and 2013.

They analysed 490,305 cases among patients aged 20 and older across the U.S. who were diagnosed with invasive bowel cancer from 1974 through 2013.

Researchers note that rates of colorectal cancer have been falling since the 1980s with an even steeper decline in the past decade, which has been caused by more screening. Starting in about 1974, the rate has been increasing by about 3 percent a year among people aged 20 to 29.

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