Advertisement

DDW 2016: Rates of Colorectal Cancer Continue to Increase in Those Under 50

Advertisement

Key Points

  • From 2004 to 2013, the number of young-onset cases of colorectal cancer rose by 11.4%, which translates to an average increase of 1.28% per year or 136 new cases every additional year
  • In contrast, researchers saw that the number of colorectal cancer cases in late-onset patients (50 or older) fell by 2.5%.
  • This analysis of the younger group also found a higher incidence of more advanced cancer than in the older group, and that young-onset cases were more prevalent in nonwhite patients than late-onset cases.

A new study shows the rate of colorectal cancer continues to increase in individuals under 50 years old, despite the fact that the overall rate of the disease has been declining in recent years. Following examination of more than 1 million colorectal cancer patient records over 10 years, researchers suggested that health-care providers should be more vigilant about detecting symptoms in younger patients. The findings were presented by Sutton et al at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2016 (Abstract Tu1812).

“While the health-care system has done a great deal to address colorectal cancer in people over 50—heightening patient awareness and increasing screenings—our findings show that much more needs to be done to fight this cancer in people under 50, a group not normally considered at risk,” said Elie Sutton, MD, the study's lead author and research fellow at Mount Sinai West Hospital. “Not only did we find that the rate of colorectal cancer in this group is rising, we also saw that within the group that was diagnosed at a younger age, a higher percentage were diagnosed at the later stages of cancer (stage III or IV), which is very concerning.”

Study Findings

Dr. Sutton and his team examined 1,010,530 colorectal cancer cases in the National Cancer Data Base from 2004 to 2013 to determine the proportion identified as young-onset compared to those that were late-onset. They also recorded variables between young-onset and late-onset in factors such as the stage at which the cancer was found, the length of in-patient hospital stay, demographics, and 30-day and 90-day mortality rates.

The study found that, over a decade, the number of young-onset cases rose by 11.4%, which translates to an average increase of approximately 1.28% per year or 136 new cases every additional year. In contrast, researchers saw that the number of colorectal cancer cases in late-onset patients (50 or older) fell by 2.5%. This analysis of the younger group also found a higher incidence of more advanced cancer than in the older group (stage III: 30.6% vs 25.1%; stage IV: 25.6% vs 18.2%). Additionally, they found that young-onset cases were more prevalent in nonwhite patients than late-onset cases (22.1% vs 16.0%).

Studies of colorectal cancer about 5 years ago found a similar trend toward young-onset, Dr. Sutton said. “Between the time of the previous research and our study, we still have not adequately addressed the risk of colorectal cancer in people under the age of 50. It's critical that we reverse this trend so that we are able to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, it in all populations, regardless of age.”

While these findings show that colorectal cancer is on the rise in people younger than 50, Dr. Sutton notes that the overwhelming majority of colorectal cancer cases still occur after age 50.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


Advertisement

Advertisement



Advertisement