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01 March 2017, 12:36 | Elizabeth Houston
Colonoscopy screening is generally recommended starting at age 50 but colorectal cancer rates are rising in younger age groups
The study relied on rates of colorectal cancer among nearly 500,000 people between 1974 and 2013.
"Trends in young age groups are a bellwether for future disease burden", she said.
"It is not surprising that the timing of the obesity epidemic parallels the rise in colorectal cancer because many behaviours thought to drive weight gain, such as unhealthy dietary patterns and sedentary lifestyles independently increase colorectal cancer risk", the authors wrote.
Both colon and rectal cancer incidence rates in 50 to 54 year olds were half those of 55 to 59 year olds in the early 1990s.
A new study finds that compared to people born around 1950, when colorectal cancer risk was lowest, those born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer. The American Cancer Society found that now, 3 in 10 rectal cancer diagnoses are in people under the age of 55.
"We should look at whether starting screening at age 40 would make a difference", added Dr Kisiel, who recently conducted a clinical trial of Cologuard, a DNA test for colon cancer.
But colorectal cancer is increasing in adults between 20 and 39 years old. That supports the theory that the same issues driving the rising obesity trend-like being less physically active and eating less healthily-may also be responsible for the uptick in colon cancer rates.
The study did not uncover a reason for the change.
Colon and rectal cancers have increased dramatically and steadily in millennials and Generation X adults in the United States over the past four decades, a study confirmed Tuesday. If this latest research is any indication, the guidelines for screenings may be subject to change if additional studies also indicate the rate of these cancers are on the rise.
Siegel said she hopes young adults and their doctors will be more vigilant in recognizing the signs of colorectal cancer. Every age group under 50 saw sustained yearly increases at least that big, while every age group over 55 saw sustained declines, the study showed. For people aged 40 to 54, the rates increased between.5 percent and one percent from the mid 1990s to 2013.
They analysed 490,305 cases among patients aged 20 and older across the USA who were diagnosed with invasive bowel cancer from 1974 through 2013.
They rose about three per cent per year from 1974 to 2013 in adults aged 20 to 29 and from 1980 to 2013 in adults aged 30 to 39.
In the meantime, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - so building healthy habits while you're still young isn't just helpful to stave off disease now, but guard yourself against longterm risk for a wide variety of health conditions, including cancer. However, making these changes can take time, so it's important to educate younger adults and their doctors about the rising rates of the disease, the researchers said.
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