Dr Jaffer A. Ajani highlights the increasing incidence of colorectal cancer diagnoses in younger patients as a growing concern during a discussion on trends in prevalence.
Zev A. Wainberg, MD: Hi, it’s a pleasure to be here at this OncLive® filming. My name is Dr Zev Wainberg from UCLA [the University of California, Los Angeles], and I’m very pleased to be joined here by my good friend and colleague Dr Jaffer Ajani from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Today we’re going to be discussing a number of topics related to colorectal cancer, with some of the recent trends in epidemiology and demographics of this disease, as well as some recent labeling changes in some of the monoclonal antibodies used. Let’s begin. Dr Ajani, I wonder if you could talk a little bit about some of the recent trends, survival, demographics, and epidemiology of metastatic colon cancer.
Jaffer A. Ajani, MD: It’s a real pleasure for me to participate this evening. Colorectal cancer remains a significant problem globally. There are almost 1.8 million new cases and 700,000 deaths each year. And since 1990, the incidence in people younger than 50 has been rising almost 2%. There were several thousand deaths recorded in 2020 in that age group, and we don’t know what is going on there. There’s some suspicion that younger people are more sedentary than they used to be and that processed food and obesity may be responsible, but it’s a real mystery and very alarming situation. Overall, the incidence of colorectal cancer has gone down. Some of the early detection strategies have worked, but it’s still hard to motivate individuals. I’m hoping that as we go forward that liquid biopsy will provide a better opportunity for early detection.
Zev A. Wainberg, MD: It’s been interesting that we see the population steadily decrease. We’re seeing more and more younger people under the age of 45, particularly in rectal cancer, and even in circumstances where presumably these are active people who eat well, we still see this unusual epidemiologic trend, which is very alarming. It’s good to see the screening societies take notice because as you know, they changed the recommendation earlier this year to allow for screening colonoscopies in anybody over 45, down from 50 previously. That’s a big deal when a screening society changes its recommendation.
Transcript Edited for Clarity