New study predicts: colorectal cancer on the rise among 25-49 year olds in the UK. Overweight and obesity, excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking worry experts
An increase in mortality for colorectal cancer among young adults aged 25-49: emerges from results of a study published in the journal Annals of Oncology
which predicts cancer death rates in the European Union and the United Kingdom for 2024. The growth confirms a trend already seen in the United Kingdom, which could depend on risk factors such as overweight and obesity. Nonetheless, the expected mortality from this type of cancer is decreasing overall across Europe. The group of researchers, led by Carlo La Vecchia, professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the State University of Milanestimates that the greatest increase in colorectal cancer mortality rates among young people will occur in United Kingdom, where in 2024 there will be an increase of 26% compared to 2018 in men and almost 39% in women. Increases are also estimated in some EU countries, including Italy.
The very worrying fact that the share of those who fall ill before the age of 50 is also constantly increasingeven in our country: if the causes are partly to be clarified, the role of incorrect lifestyles is partly clear to experts (smoking, sedentary lifestyle, overweight) increasingly widespread. The key factors contributing toincreased mortality rates from colorectal cancer among young people “They include overweight, obesity and related health conditions, such as high blood glucose levels or diabetes,” La Vecchia said. The increase in spirits consumption in central and northern Europe and the United Kingdom and reduction in physical activity constitute further risk factors. Alcohol consumption It has been associated with early-onset colorectal cancer and, in fact, in countries where a reduction in alcohol consumption has been reported (for example France and Italy), there has not been a marked increase in mortality rates for this cancer. Compared to older adults, colorectal cancer diagnosed in young adults tends to be more aggressive and have lower survival rates.
Screening from age 45
Adoption of policies that promote this should be considered increasing physical activity, reducing the number of overweight or obese individuals and limiting alcohol consumption. Furthermore, in terms of prevention, it should also be evaluated the extension of colorectal cancer screening starting the campaign from the age of 45. Screening programs “vary in Europe, but the growing incidence among young adults in the United States has prompted the US Preventive Service Task Force to recommend reducing the age for starting screening to 45,” La Vecchia added. In recent years, some Italian regions have also envisaged theexpansion of mammographic and colorectal screening to other age groups. The study, coordinated byUniversity of Milan together withUniversity of Bologna and supported by AIRC Foundationanalyzed, for the fourteenth consecutive year, cancer mortality rates in the EU and the United Kingdom, examining the same rates also in the five most populous countries of the European Union, i.e. France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain. Mortality data were collected from the World Health Organization and Eurostat databases. Mortality was assessed for various cancers, stomach, colorectal, pancreas, lung, breast, uterus (including cervix), ovary, prostate, bladder and leukemia, for both men and women.
It is estimated that in the European Union age-standardized cancer mortality rates will decrease by 6.5% in mengoing from 132 per 100,000 in 2018 to 123 per 100,000 in 2024, and 4% in women, going from 82.5 to 79 per 100,000. In the United Kingdom, by 2024, cancer mortality is expected to decrease by almost 14% in men, from a rate of 120 to 104 per 100,000, and by 10% in women, from 92.5 to 83 per 100,000. 100,000. However, due to the aging populationin the EU it is expected an increase in the number of cancer deaths from 675,265 in 2018 to over 705,100 in 2024 in men, and from 535,291 to over 565,700 in women, reaching 1,270,800. In the United Kingdom, an increase from 91,059 to 92,000 in men and from 79,631 to 80,900 in women is estimated, for a total of 172,900 deaths expected for 2024. The researchers also calculated the number of cancer deaths avoided in the period between 1989 and 2024, assuming rates remained constant relative to 1988 levels. They estimated that Overall, 6,183,000 deaths were avoided in the EU (4,244,000 in men and 1,939,000 in women) and 1,325,000 in the UK (899,000 in men and 426,000 in women).
Although there is a favorable trend in men, Lung cancer is characterized by the highest rates for both sexes, both in the European Union and in the United Kingdom. For 2024, researchers estimate mortality rates of 28 men and 13.6 women per 100,000 inhabitants in the EU, a reduction compared to 2018 of 15% in men and without any reduction in women. In the UK, lung cancer mortality rates are estimated to be 19 men and 16 women per 100,000, a reduction of 22% in men and 17% in women compared to 2018.
In both the EU and the UK, currently, Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death for men after lung cancer and for women the third leading cause of death after breast and lung cancer. Mortality trends for this type of cancer are favourable, except in women in the UK. Among non-smokers, colorectal cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both the EU and the UK. In the EU, for 2024, a decrease compared to 2018 in colorectal cancer mortality is estimated by 5% in men, with an expected rate of 15 per 100,000, and by 9% in women, with a rate of 8 per 100,000. 100,000. In the UK, a 3% decline is expected in men, with a rate of 14 per 100,000, while rates will remain stable in women, with a rate of 10 per 100,000. These overall favorable trends can be explained by improved diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer. Mortality rates tend to decline in countries with better access to screening and early diagnosis programs. However the increase in mortality among young people is worrying commented Carlo La Vecchia.
Breast cancer mortality trends continue to be favorable in the EU and the UK. In 2024, a decrease of 6% is expected in the EU, from 14 per 100,000 women in 2018 to 13 in 2024, and by 11% in the UK, from 15 to 13 per 100,000 women. Eva Negri, professor of Environmental Epidemiology and Occupational Medicine at the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences of the University of Bologna and co-leader of the research, added: Advances in the diagnosis of breast cancer play a key role in the substantial decline in mortality rates, but advances in treatments and management of the disease are the main reasons for the increase in the number of people who survive.
Pancreatic cancer, very difficult both to detect and to treat successfully, is the only cancer for which a favorable trend in mortality is not expected in the European Union (but not in the United Kingdom) for both sexes. It represents over 3% of new cancer diagnoses in Europe, but approximately 7% of cancer deaths and the fourth leading cause of cancer death. Mortality rates in the EU are expected to increase by 1.6% in men and 4% in women. Trends are better in the United Kingdom, where a decline of 7% in men and 2% in women is estimated. Smoking is the main risk factor for pancreatic cancer, but it only partly explains the increased mortality rates. Overweight, obesity, diabetes, as well as excessive alcohol consumption, can also play an important role, added Eva Negri.
These predictions highlight the importance of monitoring and, ultimately, of eliminate tobacco consumption. The tobacco remains responsible for 25% of all cancer deaths among men and 15% among women in the European Union. Not only the main risk factor for deaths from lung cancer, but also for other types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer. Our predictions also highlight the importance of bridge the gaps between European countries with regard to tumor diagnosis and treatment programs — concluded the researchers —. Mortality rates continue to be higher in Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries, partly due toinadequacy of screening programs to detect tumors such as breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, as well as lack of access to the most modern therapies.
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February 7, 2024 (modified February 7, 2024 | 08:48)
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