Colorectal Cancer Rates Rising in Young Adults
A recent study provided some surprising information about colon cancer and rectal cancer rates in the United States. The study, in which researchers analyzed data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program—a registry of cancer diagnoses in the United States—found that young people—millennials and Gen Xers—have a much higher risk for colorectal cancer than older adults. In fact, people born in 1990 have double the colon cancer risk and quadruple the rectal cancer risk of those born in 1950.
The analysis included data from all colon and rectal cancer cases in adults over the age of 20 from 1974 to 2013 in nine U.S. regions. In all, nearly 500,000 cases were involved in the study. From the mid-1980s to 2013, colorectal cancer rates in adults 55 years of age and older declined, but during that same period, rates of colorectal cancer increased in younger adults.
Overweight/obesity, a high intake of red meat and alcohol, low levels of physical activity and dietary fiber intake, and other lifestyle factors may be contributing to higher rates of colorectal cancer in young people. It’s important to take steps to reverse this alarming trend.
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