Colon Cancer Deaths Rising in Young, White People

Whites demonstrate 'concerning' increase in colon cancer mortality

Young white people are increasingly dying of colorectal cancer, a disease typically associated with older people, according to a report published August 8 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Colorectal cancer is expected to kill more than 50,000 people this year. "To put that in perspective, however, the death rate among younger people is a fraction of what it is among other people", Roswell Park Cancer Institute Professor of Sugery Dr. Stephen Edge said. But this study reports the opposite for colorectal cancer in younger people. Also, the largest increases in diagnoses was for metastatic cancer, not for the localized stage as would be the case if increased detection were the cause. But Dr. Bilchick says that this alone could not explain the racial disparities found in this study. "This was particularly surprising because colorectal cancer screening helps lower death rates in two ways - by preventing cancer and by detecting it early when treatment is more effective".

"Not only are the incident rates going up than previously reported". They observed that between 1970 and 2004, the mortality rate has declined from 6.3 to 3.9 per 100 000.

The same was not true for black people, who actually saw mortality from colorectal cancer decline over that same period. Among blacks there is a slight decline in the rates of deaths over the 45 years of the study.

The increase occurred only in white individuals, whose mortality rates increased by 1.4% (95% CI, 1.1-1.8) annually, from 3.6 per 100,000 in 2004 to 4.1 per 100,000 in 2014. For blacks, the numbers reduced to 6.1 per 100,000 in 2014. Both of them died rapidly, Church said.

The center also disclosed on its website the survival rates for stomach, bowel, liver, lung and breast cancer by facility for the first time.

Scott has been receiving treatments at Mayo Clinic since being diagnosed with colon cancer last fall.

"Most people under 55 are not going to develop colorectal cancer", Siegel stressed.

In light of the increase, doctors like Berlin are suggesting that people start getting screened for cancer before the age of 50.

"I've seen colon cancer in all ages".

Limitations of the study included its ecologic nature and inaccuracies in about 5% of all death certificates listing colorectal cancer as the underlying cause of death.

Heavy alcohol and tobacco consumption, lack of physical activity and low fruit intake are a list of factors that have been linked to individuals who developed colorectal cancer, according to the Colon Cancer Coalition. Colon cancer and rectal cancer are clubbed together because they have similar features. The researchers supported their claim, saying, "the majority of people undergoing screening are neither identified as having cancer nor protected from its developing, but they often endure repeated colonoscopy for surveillance of small polyps".

By cancer type, the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer stood at 97.7 percent, the highest figure, followed by female breast cancer at 92.7 percent, endometrial cancer at 82.8 percent, cervical cancer at 75.6 percent, bowel cancer at 72.6 percent, bladder cancer at 71.2 percent and stomach cancer at 70.4 percent.

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