Health Care

Rise in Colon Cancer Deaths Among Younger, White Americans

Rise in Colon Cancer Deaths Among Younger, White Americans

The indicators of colorectal cancer are not good. "The answer is that no one really knows why this is happening", Siegel said.

"Although CRC mortality is declining overall, trends for all ages combined mask patterns in young adults, which have not been comprehensively examined". "This indicates that there's actually a true increase in disease".

"However, if this were the primary explanation, it would have been expected to cause an increase in colorectal cancer rates among blacks as well as whites", said Chan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard.

The study also found that while diagnoses are increasing in young white males, they have declined in black individuals, Yahoo notes.

In white individuals, death rates increased from 3.6 per 100,000 in 2004 to 4.1 in 2014.

"While the risk of colorectal cancer remains low among young adults and middle-aged people, the increase of mortality strongly suggest that the increase of the incidence of this tumor result from other factors that of the only early detection", conclude the researchers. Among black individuals, mortality declined throughout the study period at a rate of 0.4 percent to 1.1 percent annually (from 8.1 in 1970 to 6.1 in 2014). They observed that between 1970 and 2004, the mortality rate has declined from 6.3 to 3.9 per 100 000.

In detail, within the white population studied in this work, the mortality has stagnated in the 20-29 age group between 1988 and 2014. However, from 1995 through 2014, mortality increased by 1.6% (95% CI, 1.2-2.1) annually for those aged 30 to 39 years.

Whites in their 40s saw deaths from colon cancer jump nearly 2 percent annually from 2005 to 2014.

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Increased mortality was particularly unexpected among those aged 50 to 54 years, for whom screening has been recommended since the 1970s.

According to the newly published report, death rates from colorectal cancer among White people in the aforementioned age group are rising by 1 per cent each year.

Why this is so is unclear, Siegel said. For the other ethnic groups, the mortality rate has decreased from 1970 to 2006 and then stabilized.

However, Siegel says it's still surprising because the findings are inconsistent with trends for major risk factors for colorectal cancer like obesity.

Limitations of the study included its ecologic nature and inaccuracies in about 5% of all death certificates listing colorectal cancer as the underlying cause of death.

Experts are divided as to whether the findings should prompt a change in screening guidelines.

Berlin also noted that a tale tell sign of this could be "if your bowel habits change and stay consistently changed". The 5-year survival for colorectal cancer diagnosed at a localized stage is 90%, yet 28% of young patients are diagnosed at a distant stage, for which 5-year survival is just 14%.

For more on colon cancer, visit the American Cancer Society. The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.


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