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While the overall rate of colorectal cancer is on decline but the lethal disease has shown pronounced increase among young people, according to a new study.

“The increasing incidence of CRC among young adults is concerning and highlights the need to investigate potential causes and external influences such as lack of screening and behavioral factors,” according to the study authors.

Colorectal cancer is profoundly seen among young people ( people under 50 years) In the study it was found that there was an annual decline of nearly 0.9 percent in colorectal patients in US itself. However, there was significant increase in the number of patients under 50 years suffering from the disease. The number was even more magnified for people between 20 year to 35 years of age.

Dr. George J. Chang, Associate Professor of Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center attests “The findings highlight the increasing problem of colon and rectal colon cancers we are finding in younger people.” He continues: “Since the mid-1980s there’s been a lot of more screening. That is probably a factor in preventing colon cancer in older people because we pick up polyps before they are malignant. However, as much as we’ve made a lot of progress for everyone over fifty that’s not the case for younger people.”

Researchers still are unable to find clues on the recent trends. Factors including poor diet, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle which are more pronounced in adults might be a possible reason for the recent trends. “We need research to study why this is happening” said Chang.

“We tend to see more rectal cancers in younger patients, but we don’t know why,” said Dr. Alexandra Drakaki, an oncologist and cancer  researcher at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles . “Nowadays, if a young man comes in with rectal bleeding, we shouldn’t assume it’s from hemorrhoids or something simple,” she said. “We shouldn’t neglect symptoms like bleeding, abdominal pain, weight loss or fatigue. These should be fully evaluated in young people.”

According to NCI, around 1.5 lakhs new cases of colorectal cancer appear every year followed by nearly 50.300 deaths. While exploring the records, researchers found that risein colon and rectal cancer among young patients matched with the trends of breast cancer. However, cause for the similarity is still unclear.

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