30 August 2020 00:30
Mendelsohn, co-director of the Center for Young Onset Colorectal Cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which was opened in 2018 to treat younger patients and study the reasons for their diagnoses. Everybody should begin getting screenings at age 45, the American Cancer Society and other expert groups recommend. But people with a family history of colon cancer should start getting tested at age 40, or at 10 years younger than the age at which their family member was diagnosed, whichever is sooner. "The five-year survival rate for young people for early-stage disease is 94 percent," said Rebecca L. The death of actor and "Black Panther" star Chadwick Boseman at 43 years old shines a spotlight on the risk of colon cancer, especially "young onset" colorectal cancer which is on the rise among people under the age of 50.
The cancer is more prevalent in men than women and is more prevalent among Black Americans than other ethnicities, said Kimmie Ng, director of the Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Actor Chadwick Boseman, 43, died Friday from colon cancer – a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and one that is increasingly affecting young Americans. While deaths from colon and rectal cancers have been declining for several decades due to improved screening and treatment measures, deaths among young people have been increasing slightly in recent years, according to researchers. "We are seeing more people in their 30s and 40s who are developing colorectal cancers – often because they're having symptoms that aren't thought to be cancers," said Dr. Nilofer Azad, an associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Colorectal cancer – which includes colon and rectal cancer – is expected to cause more than 50,000 deaths in 2020 – including 3,640 deaths in people younger than 50 years.
"It is not surprising that the timing of the obesity epidemic parallels the rise in colorectal cancer because many behaviors thought to drive weight gain, such as unhealthy dietary patterns and sedentary lifestyles, independently increase colorectal cancer risk," researchers said in the 2017 study. The cancer incidence is about 20% higher in Black men and women compared to their Caucasian counterparts, and Black patients are about 40% more likely to die of colorectal cancer, said Rebecca Siegel, a cancer epidemiologist and scientific director of surveillance research at the American Cancer Society. Among young people, the difference in the rate of cases between Black and white Americans narrows, Siegel said. White Americans under 50 account for a large portion of the increase in cases in the younger age group, she said. To combat the rising prevalence of colorectal cancer among young people, researchers suggest educating clinicians and the public about symptoms and screenings, and expanding health care access to young people, who are less likely to have access to a primary care physician and more likely to declare bankruptcy from their cancer treatments, Siegel said.
In the report, the American Cancer Society found that the median age for people diagnosed with colorectal cancer was 72 in 1989. ACS researchers found that the rate at which people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the United States is dropping among those 65 and older but rising in younger adults. Scientists knew cases of colorectal cancer was going up in younger age groups. "This report is very important because it not only provides a snapshot of the current colorectal cancer burden, but also a window to the future," she said, adding that if the increases in younger adults continue, "doctors should be aware of the unique challenges in this patient population--such as the need for the preservation of fertility and sexual function, as well as the risk of long-term treatment effects because of their extended life expectancy." The report included data on colorectal cancer cases and deaths from the National Cancer Institute and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others. Based on an analysis of the data, researchers found colorectal cancer cases among people younger than 50 have been increasing since the mid-1990s. "Much of the decline in incidence in older aged adults is because of increased screening, but the cause for rising incidence in younger age groups is still unknown," Siegel said. More young people are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, with the incidence rate increasing nearly 20 percent over the past few years, a surgeon said yesterday, urging people to be aware of the signs and symptoms. An example, said Kang Jung-cheng (糠榮誠), director of Taiwan Adventist Hospital's Colon and Rectal Surgery Division, is Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, who yesterday died of colon cancer at the age of 43, calling on people to be vigilant for symptoms, including dark stools or blood in the stool, narrowing of the stool, sudden constipation, abdominal pain or unintended weight loss. People aged 50 or older should have a colonoscopy every five years and have colorectal polyps removed to prevent cancer, Kang said.