Oral 7: Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer: A More Aggressive Disease on the Rise
Author Insight from Xi Emily Zheng, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York
What’s new here and important for clinicians?
Colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence in patients younger than 50 years, so called young-onset CRC, has risen alarmingly in the last decade. As compared with old-onset CRC (aged 50 years and older), the young-onset CRC is more likely to be diagnosed in minority population and is a more aggressive pathologically.
However, the pathogenesis of young-onset CRC, which may differ from typical old-onset CRC, remains largely unknown. Known genetic predispositions, such as familiar adenomatous polyposis and lynch syndrome, can only account for a small portion of this disease.
It is important for clinicians to be aware of the fact that young-onset CRC behaves differently from old-onset CRC. It is key to catch this disease in the earlier stage. It is also critical to make future efforts on identifying risk factors and pathogenesis of young-onset CRC, so that we might screen and prevent it in a targeted manner.
What do patients need to know?
Patients should also be made aware that colorectal cancer can occur at age younger than 50 years which is an aggressive disease. Delayed diagnosis dictates worse outcome. Therefore, younger patients should consult their internists and/or gastroenterologists if they have family history of colorectal cancer or encounter alarming GI symptoms, such as rectal bleed, stool occult blood, weight loss or change in bowel habits, etc.
Author Contact: Xi Emily Zheng, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York
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