Colorectal cancer is showing up in younger people and at more advanced stages: study
According to Colorectal Cancer Statistics 2023, a new report on cancer facts and trends by the American Cancer Society (ACS), cases of advanced-stage colorectal cancer (CRC) are increasing and the disease is occurring in younger patients. Being researched, that is. Headquarters in Atlanta.
Although CRC-related deaths have continued to decline, the report indicates a disturbing trend in the outlook for fighting the disease.
Specifically, this includes the advanced stage of the cancer at diagnosis and the patient’s age at which it is diagnosed.
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Advanced-stage CRC disease now occurs in three out of five people, while one in five CRC is diagnosed in people younger than 55, according to the study’s investigators.
In addition, people who are Alaska Natives had the highest rate and death rate — nearly four times higher than non-Hispanic white individuals, according to the report.
It was published Wednesday, March 1, in the journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and in the publication Colorectal Cancer Facts and Figures 2023-2025 on cancer.org.
“We know that rates are increasing among younger people, but it’s alarming to see how rapidly the patient population as a whole is getting younger, despite the shrinking numbers in the overall population,” said Rebecca Siegel, senior scientific director, American Cancer Society. And the lead author of the observational research report said in a news release.
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“The trend toward more advanced disease among people of all ages is also surprising and should encourage everyone age 45 and older to get screened,” Siegel also said in the release.
“The trend toward more advanced disease among people of all ages is also surprising and should encourage everyone 45 and older to get screened.”
The researchers collected data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Data were available through 2019 from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries, as provided by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. .
According to the report, the researchers also looked at national mortality data available through 2020 that was provided by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Overall, CRC mortality decreased by 2% annually from 2011 to 2020, yet mortality increased 0.5%–3% annually among individuals younger than 50 years of age and among Native Americans younger than 65 years of age, according to the study. has happened
Despite these overall declines, CRC is being diagnosed more often at a younger age and at a more advanced stage.
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The number of individuals diagnosed with advanced-stage colorectal cancer in the US increased from 52% in the mid-2000s to 60% in 2019, the investigators noted.
“We have to figure out why rates continue to go in the wrong direction among young adults.”
The number of CRC cases in persons younger than 55 years almost doubled from 11% in 1995 to 20% in 2019.
That’s a jump from 1 in 10 people to 1 in 5, according to the release.
American Cancer Society senior vice president of surveillance and health equity science and senior author of the study Dr. “We have to figure out why the rates are going in the wrong direction among young adults,” Dr. Ahmedin Jamal said in a news release. release
“We need to invest more in research to identify the reasons for the increasing trends and to find new treatments for advanced-stage disease to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease in this young population, which families Nurturing and supporting other family members.”
Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is observed in March to emphasize the importance of screening for this form of cancer.
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An estimated 153,020 people will be diagnosed with CRC in the US, and about 52,550 people will die from the disease in 2023, the researchers said.
CEO of the American Cancer Society. Dr. Karen E. “These highly concerning data demonstrate the urgent need to invest in cancer research studies dedicated to understanding and preventing early-onset colorectal cancer,” Knudsen said in a news release.
“The shift toward diagnosis of more advanced disease also underscores the importance of screening and early detection, which saves lives.”
The report revealed that cases of CRC in people aged 50 years and older declined sharply during the 2000s. This was attributed to increased screening with colonoscopy, which experts say can help prevent cancer by removing precancerous growths or polyps.
The study authors found, however, that progress has slowed over the past decade, which may be due to a trend of increasing cases in younger individuals, the study noted.
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The report found that the 65-and-over age group has shown a decline in incidence rates since 2011, and that rates have remained stable in the 50-64 age group.
However, a disturbing trend showed an increase of 2% per year among people under the age of 50, as well as among those aged 50 to 54.
Colonoscopies were generally recommended at age 50, but in recent years, that number has been changed to age 45 in average-risk individuals and earlier if there is a family history or other risk factors. The factors were
Cancer experts said they are concerned that the diagnoses being made are for a more advanced stage of the disease, in which the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and other organs.
When it comes to preventing colorectal cancer, “one of the simplest ways to tell people is to get a colonoscopy when they’re young,” says Dr. Paul Oberstein, MD, of the NYU Langone Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York City. A medical oncologist, told Fox News Digital.
Oberstein was not involved in the study but commented on the findings.
Colonoscopies were usually recommended at age 50, but in recent years, in average-risk individuals and earlier if there was a family history or other risk factors, the number has increased to age 45. was changed to
While colonoscopies are the standard used to diagnose CRC, new ways to screen for this type of cancer are needed, Oberstein said, especially given these findings of more aggressive forms diagnosed in a small population. based on.
“We don’t really know why rectal cancer is on the rise in young people,” he told Fox News Digital.
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“There are a lot of hypotheses. People think it might be related to diet, or exposure to antibiotics, or other foods,” he added. [such as] Processed foods — or you can list anything. We don’t know the answer. And so the challenge is that until we know that answer, it’s really hard to turn it around if you don’t know what we’re targeting.
In addition to getting a colonoscopy, patients should be aware of the signs of CRC.
They should talk to their health care provider, she said, especially if they see blood in their stool or have bowel problems that don’t resolve.
According to the study, CRC is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the US.
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The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) continues to advocate for the implementation of policies in each state to help cover the cost of colonoscopies and remove barriers to colorectal cancer screening.