(HealthDay News) — While rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) have fallen among older Americans, cases among adults aged 20–49 are rising and expected to continue to do so, according to research published online November 5 in JAMA Surgery.

Christina Bailey, MD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues analyzed U.S. National Cancer Institute data for 393 ,241 patients diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer from 1975–2010. The researchers found that the overall CRC rate for Americans fell by 0.92% each year during that time, with a similar drop seen in men and women. Age appeared to be a factor – rates fell by 0.97% annually in people aged 50–74. However, rates rose by 1.99% per year among people aged 20–34 and by 0.41% annually among those aged 35–49.

The researchers estimate that by 2020 and 2030, colon cancer rates will increase by 37.8 and 90.0%, respectively, among people aged 20–4, but fall by 23.2 and 41.1 percent, respectively, among people aged >50.

“The increasing incidence of CRC among young adults is concerning and highlights the need to investigate potential causes and external influences such as lack of screening and behavioral factors,” the authors write.

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