August 25, 2010

Rectal Cancer On The Rise In Young Adults

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Think just because you are young, your chances of developing cancer are less? Think again. Research is showing age doesn't matter.

Although colon cancer rates have steadily decreased among adults under the age of 40, rectal cancer rates have increased in both males and females. Rectal cancer is known to be a rare form of cancer among young adults; however, researchers say people underestimate the severity of it, and delayed diagnoses have been the result.

Researchers studied 7,661 colon and rectal cancer patients under the age of 40 between the years 1973 and 2005. Next, researchers calculated any changes over time for colon and rectal cancer. Overall, they found colon cancer rates remained stable in people under the age of 40, yet rectal cancer rates have been increasing since 1984.

"We suggest that in young people presenting with rectal bleeding or other common signs of rectal cancer, endoscopic evaluation should be considered in order to rule out a malignancy," Dr. Joshua Meyer, a radiation oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, was quoted as saying. "This is contrast to what is frequently done, which is to attribute these findings to hemorrhoids. More frequent endoscopic evaluation may be able to decrease the documented delay in diagnosis among young people," Dr. Meyer concluded.

SOURCE: Cancer, August 2010