Increasing early-onset colorectal cancer rates are befuddling researchers around the world, Medscape reports.
What you should know:
1. While the increase of early-onset CRC cases has been heavily documented in the U.S., worldwide rate increases weren't as publicized. That changed after several studies confirmed increasing early-onset CRC rates in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
2. A study published in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology examined incidence rates in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, Ireland and the U.K. This study noted CRC rates were decreasing overall, but spiking in populations under 50 years old. Early-onset colon cancer rates increased 3 percent in Denmark, New Zealand and Australia, while early-onset rectal cancer rates increased 3.4 percent in Canada and 2.6 percent in Australia.
3. A second study published in Gut examined rates in 20 European countries. Researchers found that early-onset CRC rates increased 8 percent in the 20-29-year-old range and 5 percent in the 30-39-year-old age range.
4. A third study published in JAMA reconfirmed that U.S. rates are also skyrocketing. Between 1995 to 2015 there were significant rate increases in the 40-49-year-old age range across nine U.S. regions. These increases are not attributable to earlier detection rates.
5. Researchers are still unsure what's driving the increases in young populations. Several studies urged professional societies to rethink their guidelines to recommend beginning diagnostic screening at a younger age.
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