Incidence of rectal cancer among young people

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In 2017, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute stated that among young people aged 20-50 years, the incidence of rectal cancer is  increasing. The institute used SEER registration data from the National Cancer Institute for over 35 years. In addition, the researchers also predict that by 2030, the incidence of colon cancer and rectal cancer will increase by 90% and 124% among adults aged 20-34! The number of people between the ages of 35 and 49 will increase less, 28% and 46% respectively.

In the past two decades, although the increase in obesity and meat consumption has been associated with an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, reports of newly developing colon and rectal cancer show an average annual decrease of about 2.7%. Smoking is another factor that increases the risk of precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer. Although the proportion of smokers fell from 21% in 2005 to 17% in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is believed that the majority of colorectal cancer risk reduction is due to improved screening and monitoring of patient risk.

For individuals, knowledge is the key. It is important to pay attention to your health. It is important to  understand the family history of rectal cancer and other cancers as much as possible. In addition, we must minimize the factors that may increase the risk of colorectal cancer, such as excessive obesity, red meat consumption, processed foods, and smoking.

Factors that reduce the risk of colorectal cancer:

■ Dietary fiber: Previous evidence shows that dietary fiber can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, and this report is further supplemented by reporting that 90 grams of whole grains per day can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 17%.

■ Whole grains: For the first time, the AICR / WCRF study independently linked whole grains and colorectal cancer. The intake of whole grains can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Exercise: Exercising can reduce the risk of colon cancer (but there is no evidence to reduce the risk of rectal cancer).

■ Others: Limited evidence suggests that fish, foods containing vitamin C (oranges, strawberries, spinach, etc.), multivitamins, calcium, and dairy products can also reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Factors that increase the risk of colorectal cancer:

■ Large intake (> 500g per week) of red meat and processed meat, including beef, pork, hot dogs, etc .: Previous studies have shown that red meat and processed meat are associated with cancer risk. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified processed meat as a “carcinogenic factor for humans.” In addition, studies of premenopausal women have shown that high intake of red meat can increase the risk of breast cancer.
■ Drink ≥ 2 kinds of alcoholic beverages (30g alcohol) daily, such as wine or beer.
■ Non-starch vegetables / fruits, foods containing heme iron: When the intake is low, the risk of colorectal cancer is high.
■ Other factors such as overweight, obesity, and height can also increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Many methods of preventing colorectal cancer are important for overall health: maintaining a proper weight, exercising properly, limiting red meat and processed meat, increasing the intake of whole grains and dietary fiber, limiting alcohol to a maximum of two glasses per day, and avoiding or stopping smoking.
Is it possible to avoid colorectal cancer by achieving the above points? No one can guarantee 100%. However, at least in the process of cancer prevention, it is clear that different “causes” lead to different “fruits”, you know how to choose.

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