Colorectal cancer rates are rising among younger adults

  • Colorectal cancer remains a significant health concern for younger men
  • Doctor: "Some type of screening would seem to make sense”
  • Men are two times more susceptible than women, regardless of age

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 13: Colorectal cancer awareness installation and rally on the National Mall to showcase the increasing number of cases in young adults on March 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. The installation is a visual representation of more than 27,400 people under the age of 50 estimated to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2030. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fight Colorectal Cancer)

(NewsNation) — Cases of colorectal cancer are rising among younger adults, according to a new study.

A new study by a team from the Regenstrief Institute identified seven risk factors that may explain the increased health risk for those younger than 50.

“This study is important because it puts whether, and possibly how, to screen people who are younger than age 45 — below the age for recommended colorectal cancer screening and have some of the risk factors we identify — on the table for consideration for screening,” said lead researcher-clinician Thomas Imperiale, M.D., of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to the study, the seven factors conveying higher-than-average risk for early-onset colorectal cancer in males are:

  • older age (within the 35 to 49-year-old age range)
  • no regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin or ibuprofen)
  • no regular use of statins
  • current alcohol use
  • first or second-degree relative with colorectal cancer
  • a higher disease burden
  • service-connection/copay variable – a marker for socioeconomic status

“For men younger than 45 who are at higher-than-average risk, doing some type of screening would seem to make sense,” Imperiale said in the study.

According to the study, colorectal cancer incidence and deaths are declining for individuals aged 50 and older. The health risk is also two times higher for men than for women regardless of age.


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