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Colorectal cancer is killing more 20 to 30 year olds. We now have one clue about why.

Published on 16 October 2018  | Download | back to previous

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It’s one of the mysteries that has puzzled cancer epidemiologists: Why are younger and younger people becoming sick with colorectal cancer?

In 2017, researchers at the American Cancer Society showed colorectal cancer is rising sharply in younger generations. For people in their 20s and 30s, colon cancer rates increased 1 to 2 percent between the mid-1990s to 2013. And rectal cancer rate shot up even more dramatically — rising 3 percent per year in the same age cohort. 

Overall, those born in 1990 have double the risk of developing colon cancer and four times the risk of getting rectal cancer compared to those born around 1950. So in response to the alarming trend, in 2018 the society lowered the age for routine colorectal cancer screening to 45 from 50. 

“It’s not like the problem is bad and has stabilized,” said Thomas Weber, the director of surgical oncology at New York’s Northwell Health, who organizes an annual summit for researchers trying to solve the mystery. “The problem has continued to worsen.”

But a new study published Thursday in JAMA offers one potential explanation: the rising rates of obesity. 

Since 1980, the obesity prevalence has doubled in more than 70 countries around the world. Thirty-nine percent of US adults, are now obese, along with 19 percent of children and adolescents

The JAMA study looked at 85,000 women and found a link between a higher body weight, particularly obesity, and a greater risk of colorectal cancer.

Click here to read the full article sourced from Vox.com 


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