HealthDay News — Although overall colorectal cancer (CRC) rates are declining, the rates among Americans under 50 have increased in the past decade, according to a study presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week, held from May 21 to 24 in San Diego.

Elie Sutton, MD, a research fellow at Mount Sinai West Hospital in New York City, and colleagues reviewed data on more than one million CRC cases listed in the National Cancer Database from 2004 to 2013.

The researchers found that the rates of CRC among Americans under 50 have increased 11.4% in the past decade. Over the same decade, the number of cancers in those 50 and older fell by 2.5%. The researchers also found that CRC among those under 50 was often diagnosed when the cancer was already advanced.

“Our findings suggest that health care providers should be more vigilant about detecting symptoms in younger patients and also should consider lowering the threshold for colonoscopy screening,” Sutton said during a media briefing. “We really don’t know why colorectal cancer is increasing in younger patients,” he said. “We can speculate that it’s due to increases in inflammatory bowel disease or a change in diet, but really there is no clear consensus on that.”

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