Colon Cancer Claims the Top Spot in Cancer-Related Deaths for Young Men
Colon cancer is now the leading cause of cancer deaths in men under 50 and the second deadliest for women in the same age group, after breast cancer, according to recent data from the American Cancer Society.
This revelation comes as the incidence of colon cancer has been steadily increasing over the past two decades, signaling a significant shift in the landscape of cancer mortality.
Traditionally, Colon cancer has been associated with the elderly, but the report reveals that new diagnoses among adults aged 50 to 64 have risen from 25% to 30% since 1995.
While overall cancer deaths continue to decline in the US, colorectal cancers have emerged as leading causes of cancer death in younger adults, a finding published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Dr. Kimmie Ng, director of the Young Onset Colorectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, noted that the trend of younger patients seeking treatment for colorectal cancer has been observed for decades.
Colon Cancer Prevention
Dr. William Dahut, chief scientific officer at the American Cancer Society, highlighted that younger individuals tend to be diagnosed at later, more aggressive stages, contributing to the changes in mortality rates.
The reasons behind the rise in colorectal cancer among younger adults remain unclear. Some experts suggest factors such as increasing obesity rates, sedentary behavior, and unhealthy diets may play a role.
However, Dr. Ng points out that many young patients do not fit this profile, raising suspicions about environmental factors affecting microbiomes or immune systems.
Preventative measures include colonoscopy screenings starting at age 45, with earlier screenings recommended for those with a family history of colon cancer. Maintaining a healthy body weight and minimizing red meat intake can also help reduce the risk.
The report emphasizes the unique challenges faced by young cancer patients, who may be juggling family and careers and are more likely to experience treatment-related side effects.
As colon cancer rates continue to rise in this age group, further research is needed to understand the underlying causes and develop effective preventive strategies.