Dr. Eng on the Rising Incidence of Early-Onset CRC

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Cathy Eng, MD, FACP, FASCO, discusses the rising incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer.

Cathy Eng, MD, FACP, FASCO, David H. Johnson Chair, Surgical and Medical Oncology, co-leader, Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Research Program, professor of medicine, hematology and oncology, co-director, GI Oncology, vice chair, SWOG GI Committee, and director, VICC Young Adult Cancers Initiative, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, discusses the rising incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer (CRC).

Although the median age of onset for CRC in the United States is around 67 years, the incidence of early-onset CRC is rising among young patients, says Eng. In large referral centers, oftentimes patients are innately younger because they are getting second opinions from primary care facilities, says Eng. However, an increased number of very young patients with sporadic CRC has been observed in recent years, Eng explains.

In 2015, a paper published in JAMA Surgery by lead author Christina E. Bailey MD, MSCI, of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center demonstrated a significant increase in the incidence of young adults diagnosed with CRC and a decline in diagnoses in older patients. These findings have since been validated in other clinical studies, says Eng. Moreover, research suggests that a significant increase in the incidence of left-sided CRC will be seen in the coming years, concludes Eng.

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