Early-onset CRC rates continue to rise — 5 study insights

A study published in Cancer shows that early-onset colorectal cancer rates have continued to increase over the past decade.

Researchers examined the National Cancer Database to explore the number of early-onset cases. Researchers consider any person under 50 who develops CRC early-onset.

What they found:

1. From 2004 to 2015, clinicians diagnosed 130,165 patients under 50 and 1,055,598 patients over 50 with CRC.

2. Of all patients with CRC, the proportion of early-onset cases increased from 10 percent in 2004 to 12.2 percent in 2015.

3. African American and Hispanic populations each had higher rates of early-onset CRC than non-Hispanic white populations from 2004 to 2015.

4. Of early-onset CRC cases, 51.6 percent of young adults had stage 3 or stage 4 cancer compared to 40 percent of people older than 50.

5. Income level did not affect CRC incidence rate, as rates increased across all income levels. The highest rate increases occurred in patients in the top income category.

University of Texas at Austin researcher Boone Goodgame, MD, said: "Several studies have shown that the rates of colorectal cancer in younger adults have risen slowly in the U.S. since the 1970s, but for practicing physicians, it feels like we are seeing more and more young people with colorectal cancer now than we were even 10 years ago."

What's causing the increase in early-onset CRC rates continues to befuddle researchers, as does how to prevent future early-onset cases. Do you have thoughts on the issue? Share them with Eric Oliver at eoliver@beckershealthcare.com.

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