Researchers have found out that an increasing number of young adults in the United States are dying from colon and rectal cancers. The study, conducted by the American Cancer Society, found out that these adults are dying by the age 50, which is the age when they should begin screenings.
Commenting on the findings of the study, Dr. James Church, a colorectal surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio said that since routine screening is generally not recommended for most adults under the age of 50, the cancers which are eventually detected in younger adults are often in advanced stages or fatal. Church was not involved in the study.
Dr. Church said that has noticed a trend in the increase in the death rates closely. He said that last year, he saw two 36-year-olds with stage IV colon cancer on separate occasions.
He added that in both of those patients, the cancer spread to their livers which made him difficult to operate on them. Reports state that both of the patients died.
“They both had young families, both little girls, and they lost their father in one case and their mother in the other, forever, because of this nasty disease when it’s advanced,” Church said.
“It makes a big impact on me, and it makes me keenly interested in trying to solve this issue,” he said. “Everybody in colorectal surgical circles is seeing increased incidence of colon cancer in the young, defined as younger than 50.”
The current study is a follow up of the one that found that incidence rates of colon and rectal cancers among American adults under 50 was rising. According to the previous study, adults born in 1990 could have twice the risk of developing colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer at the same age had they been born in 1950.
The findings of the study were published in the medical journal JAMA on Tuesday.