More young people are being diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. Why?

NBC News

By Kaitlin Sullivan and Reynolds Lewis
(Vadym Terelyuk/Getty Images/iStock Photos)

Colorectal cancer rates in younger people have surged in recent years. More troubling, most cases diagnosed are at an advanced stage and researchers aren’t sure what’s causing the cancers.

According to new statistics from the American Cancer Society, the proportion of colorectal cancer that occurred in people under age 55 doubled between 1995 and 2019, from 11% to 20%.

That means that, of the roughly 1.3 million people in the U.S. living with colorectal cancer in the United States in 2019, about 273,800 were younger than age 55. 

People born after 1990 — millennials and Gen Zers —  are twice as likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer and fourfold more likely to get rectal cancer compared to people born in 1950, a 2017 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found.

The numbers are climbing at an alarming rate. A study published in 2021, in JAMA, estimated that in just seven years, colorectal cancer will be the leading cause of cancer deaths in people ages 20–49. 

Publish : 2023-03-05 12:27:00

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