Doctors are seeing more cases of colon cancer in patients under 50 years, the age at which screening guidelines recommend colon cancer screening should begin.
Unfortunately, the numbers support this troubling trend. Overall, colon cancer incidence has been falling over the last 35 years. However, the rates in the under-50 population are increasing.
A study published in JAMA Surgery found that if current trends continue, incidence rates for colon and rectal cancers will increase by 90% and 124%, respectively for patients 20-34 years by 2030.
Researchers are at a loss to explain precisely why colon cancer rates are falling in older adults, but are on the rise in the younger population. Further studies will be required to determine the cause for these trends and identify potential prevention strategies.
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