Although the cancer is predicted to cause over 50,000 deaths in the U.S.in 2017, that number has been trending downward for decades thanks in part to routine screenings and an increased awareness. "Our finding that colorectal cancer risk for millennials has escalated back to the level of those born in the late 1800s is very sobering".
Known risk factors for colon and rectal cancer include obesity, inactivity and diets high in red and processed meat and low fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Among people 40 to 54, rectal cancer rates increased by 2 percent annually from the 1990s to 2013.
They point out in 2013 in the U.S., 10,400 new cases of colorectal cancer (CRC) were diagnosed in people in their 40s, with an additional 12,800 cases diagnosed in people in their early 50s.
For starters, he said, "Although relative rates are rising in younger people, the absolute risk is still low in the younger population".
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. 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. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 95,000 new cases of colon cancer and nearly 40,000 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed in 2017.
Rates of colon and rectal cancer in millennials are rising sharply in the USA, according to new research, prompting concern that poor diets and sedentary lifestyles are contributing to a resurgence of the deadly disease.
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And while the majority of rectal cancer diagnoses are still in patients over age 55, three in 10 diagnoses are in patients younger than 55.
The results showed that after decreasing since 1974, colon cancer incidence rates increased by 1 to 2 percent per year from the mid-1980s through 2013 in adults ages 20 to 39. As a runner and vegetarian, she said she didn't see the need to undergo screening.
"So it would be premature to recommend the initiation of screening at a younger age", Chan said.
The study was not able to determine the reasons for rise in colorectal cancer rates in these age groups, but Siegel notes that the increase coincides with the rise of the obesity epidemic. The data included all cases of colon and rectal cancer that occurred from 1974 to 2013 in nine regions of the United States in adults ages 20 and older.
Recently though, studies have reported increasing CRC incidence in adults under 50, for whom screening is not recommended for those at average risk.
It's important for primary care doctors to be aware of this trend and act on symptoms of colon cancer even in their younger patients, she said.
Rates for adults older than 55 has been declining for about 40 years, researchers said.