Colorectal Cancer Risk Rises In Younger People
For reasons that are still unclear the risk of colorectal cancer has been increasing in younger people, prompting the American Cancer Society to recommend that screening start sooner, at age 45 rather than 50. In particular, the higher risk is occurring among women under 50, and research indicates that this change is likely linked to obesity. A 22-year-long study from Washington University School of Medicine followed more than 85,000 women beginning when they were between the ages of 25 and 42. Results showed that those had who gained between 44 and 88 pounds after age 18 had a 65 percent increased risk of colon cancer and those who gained even more had double the risk compared to women who gained 10 pounds or less.
While the study didn’t prove that weight gain causes early-onset colorectal cancer, it did reveal a strong association. Senior researcher Yin Cao, an epidemiologist, noted that emerging data suggest that early-onset colorectal cancer “may be different on a molecular level from cases diagnosed at older ages” and that more research is needed to determine why cases and deaths are increasing among younger people, as well as to discover what can be done to slow them down.
Po-Hong Liu et al, “Association of Obesity with Risk of Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer Among Women.” JAMA Oncology, October 11, 2018, doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.4280
Also in this week’s bulletin: