Colorectal Cancer (Bowel Cancer)
Early Onset Colorectal Cancer
Screening programs are one of the more efficient strategies for the early detection and prevention of CRC. In Europe, regular screening practices begin at age 50. Not getting screened is one of the reasons young people are often diagnosed with CRC at a later stage. Recent epidemiological models indicate that lowering the age of CRC screening to 45 could be a solution to reduce the burden of early-onset CRC, yet there are no controlled studies assessing the impact of screening on CRC incidence, mortality, or the risks and costs for individuals under the age of 50 years.1
Healthcare Professional Awareness
Other causes that can delay the diagnosis are related to a low awareness amongst health care professionals and the general population on the existence of early-onset CRC. There can be low clinical suspicion by health care professionals, inadequate access to health care or diagnostic check-ups, and reduced awareness of symptoms. Patients with early-onset CRC who are symptomatic might wait up to six months before seeking help. Although, despite more advanced stages and later diagnosis, compared with those with late-onset disease, patients with early-onset disease seem to have more favourable survival rates.2
1. Cathy Eng, Alexandre A Jácome, Rajiv Agarwal, Muhammad Hashim Hayat, Mariana X Byndloss , Andreana N Holowatyj , Christina Bailey , Christopher H Lieu A comprehensive framework for early-onset colorectal cancer research Lancet Oncol . 2022 Jan 25;S1470-2045(21)00588-X. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00588-X.
2. Abdelsattar ZM, Wong SL, Regenbogen SE, Jomaa DM, Hardiman KM, Hendren S. Colorectal cancer outcomes and treatment patterns in patients too young for average-risk screening. Cancer 2016; 122: 929–34.