Even though the overall rates of colorectal cancer in the United States are declining, the researchers have found out an anomaly: the rates are rising sharply for young and middle-aged adults, according to a new study.
The findings of the study have sparked a new debate abut whether screenings for colorectal cancer should be started earlier than the age of 50.
The researchers, during the study, found out that between the years 1980s and 2013, the rates of colorectal cancer increased around 1 to 2 percent for people who were in their 20s and 30s. They also noted that the cancer rate for middle-aged adults also increased however at a slower rate than the others.
The study showed that the rectal cancer rates rose even faster in recent decade at around 3 percent per year for people in their 20s and 30s. The rates also increased by 2 percent for the people between the ages of 40 and 54. Therefore, it was noted that at least three in 10 news cases of rectal cancer are now diagnosed in patients who are younger than 55.
It has been found out that the rectal cancer in adults aged 55 and older have dropped in four decades, in comparison to the younger adults.
Commenting on the findings of the study, lead researchers from American Cancer Society Rebecca Siegel said that the earlier work of the study has shown that there are growing incidences of colorectal cancer among the groups who are known as Gen X and millennials. She said that magnitude of the increased rate has been found as “very shocking.”
The study however did establish the factors which could be behind such an increase in colorectal cancer rates. The researchers however said that some factors that may have contributed to the rising cases could include the obesity epidemic, a sedentary lifestyle, low fiber consumption, excess weight and even changes in diet.
The findings of the study were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.