ROCHESTER, Minnesota – A Review article by Mayo Clinic researchers point out that early-onset colorectal cancer, defined as being diagnosed in people under the age of 50, continues to rise steadily in the United States and other high-income countries. This increase, coupled with a decline in late-onset cases due primarily to screening, has caused the median age at diagnosis to drop from 72 in the early 2000s to 66 today.
We are seeing a significant increase in the number of young colorectal cancer patients at Mayo Clinic, as is happening across the country. “It is important to recognize that most cases have no known hereditary basis and no identifiable cause,” says Frank Sinicrope, MDoncologist and gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Minnesota, and author of the study. The article was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
“Public health measures are needed to address risk factors for colorectal cancer, starting in adolescence, including poor dietary habits and physical inactivity, explains Dr. Sinicrope.” He notes that while the specific causes of early-onset colorectal cancer remain elusive, data suggests that diets high in red and processed meat, as well as refined grains and processed sugar may alter the microbial composition of the body. intestine, leading to chronic inflammation, increased rates of obesity and a higher risk of colorectal cancer.
“Evidence suggests that a plant-based diet and more physical activity may help promote a more favorable gut microbiome, which in turn may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer,” says Dr. Sinicrope.
He says ongoing research involving large cohorts and international consortia aims to identify early exposures that are most relevant to the development of early colorectal cancer.
About the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
Designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center defines new boundaries of possibility, focusing on patient-centered care, developing new treatments, training future generations of oncology experts and bringing cancer research to communities. At Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, a culture of innovation and collaboration is driving research breakthroughs that change approaches to cancer prevention, detection and treatment and improve the lives of cancer survivors.
About the Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a non-profit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to all those in need of healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for more information about the Mayo Clinic.
New England Journal of Medicine
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