MONDAY, July 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 2004 to 2015, there was an increase in the proportion of persons diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) at an age younger than 50 years in the United States, according to a study published online July 22 in Cancer.

John Virostko, Ph.D., from the University of Texas at Austin, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study of the National Cancer Data Base from 2004 to 2015 to examine changes in the proportion of CRC cases diagnosed at younger than 50 years.

The researchers identified 130,165 patients diagnosed when aged younger than 50 years and 1,055,598 patients diagnosed at the age of 50 years or older. They observed an increase in the proportion of the total number of patients diagnosed with CRC at an age younger than 50 years from 10.0 percent in 2004 to 12.2 percent in 2015. Younger adults presented with more advanced disease than those diagnosed at age 50 years or older (stage III/IV, 51.6 versus 40 percent). Among men, diagnosis at ages younger than 50 years increased only in non-Hispanic whites, while for women, increases in younger diagnoses over time were seen for Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites.

“Because of the lack of screening, younger patients are more likely to present with and die of advanced disease,” the authors write. “These data should be considered in the ongoing discussion of screening guidelines.”

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