A new analysis has found that while colon cancer rates have remained steady over the past several decades among people under the age of 40, rectal cancer rates are increasing in this population across races and in both sexes.
Published in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that greater efforts are needed to diagnose rectal cancer in young individuals who show potential signs of the disease.
Overall rates of colon and of rectal cancer were low during the years of the study (1.11 cases and 0.42 cases per 100,000, respectively). While colon cancer rates remained essentially flat in individuals under age 40 years in recent decades, rectal cancer rates have been increasing since 1984.
Specifically, between 1984 and 2005, the rate of rectal cancer diagnosis rose 3.8% per year.