– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – Rates of bowel cancer in young adults are on the rise, health experts warn.
To shed light on trends for bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer or CRC, researchers have analysed data from national and regional cancer registries on the number of new cases and deaths related to the disease between 1990 and 2016 across Europe.
In total, they looked at statistics from 143.7 million people aged 20-49 years from 20 countries, including Germany, Sweden, the U.K. and the Netherlands, and found that in the period studied, there was a steeper rise of new cases in more recent years.
Among 20-29 year olds, bowel cancer rates rose from 0.8 to 2.3 cases per 100,000 people between 1990 and 2016, and the sharpest rise was between 2004 and 2016 at 7.9 per cent per year. The incidences increased less steeply in the 30-39 year olds group at an average of 4.9 per cent per year, while among the 40-49 years age group, the bowel cancer rates fell by 0.8 per cent between 1990 and 2004, but then increased slightly by 1.6 per cent per year from 2004 to 2016.
New cases of bowel cancer rose significantly among people aged 20-39 in 12 countries, namely, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K., Norway, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, France, Denmark, Czech Republic and Poland, however, Italy showed a decrease.
With regards to the concerning findings, the researchers have noted that screening guidelines may need to be reconsidered in the near future.
“Several factors may be behind these trends, including the rise in obesity, and lifestyle factors such as lack of physical activity, alcohol intake and smoking,” they commented. “Until the underlying cause of this trend is identified, it would be (a good idea) to raise clinicians’ awareness and identify factors possibly associated with this trend.”
Full results have been published in The BMJ.