Colon cancer increase in younger adults raises screening issues

As we recently reported here, according to a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association, more adults ages 20 to 54 are dying from colorectal cancer than ever before. This raises¬†issues regarding the benefits of earlier screening and better detection methods for younger patients. Although no new guidelines have yet emerged, and probably won’t for some time, this is an important subject worth discussing. Why? Guidelines change only when bad outcomes happen. This means that until enough younger patients are lost to this disease, there won’t be enough attention to the subject to induce change. But this issue is further complicated by the fact that regardless of the devastating nature of this disease, and the measurable uptick, overall we are still talking about very low absolute numbers. So how do we spend our ever-shrinking healthcare dollars wisely in this shifting landscape of risk? The New York Times explores epidemiological factors and screening challenges for younger patients.

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