New Report: Colon Cancer Is Killing More Young Men and Women Than Ever Before

( — A new report has found that colorectal cancer has become the deadliest form of cancer for men under 50 and the second-deadliest behind breast cancer for women under 50, NBC News reported.

As cancer deaths continue to decline overall in the United States, according to a report published on Wednesday in “CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians,” colon and rectal cancers have become the leading causes of cancer deaths in younger adults for the first time.

Colon cancer has been on the rise for at least the last two decades. Twenty years ago, colon cancer was the fourth-leading cause of cancer death for those under 50.

Among all ages, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths, with prostate cancer the second-deadliest among men and breast cancer the second-deadliest among women.

Colorectal cancer remains the third-deadliest among men and women of all ages.

Traditionally, cancer is a disease affecting the elderly. However, the number of new cases of cancer in people over 65 has dropped from 61 percent in 1995 to 58 percent today. Much of the decline has been attributed to the drop in smoking-related and prostate cancers.

By comparison, the new cases of cancer among adults ages 50 to 64 have increased from 25 percent in 1995 to 30 percent today.

In addition to the increase in colorectal cancer, the rates of endometrial cancer and breast cancer have also been on the rise.

Dr. Kimmie Ng from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston said doctors have been noticing an increase in younger cancer patients over the last two decades, and the new report confirms that the trend is real.

The American Cancer Society’s Dr. William Dahut said younger people tend to get diagnosed in the later stages, when the cancer is more aggressive. He said this is why the death rate among colorectal cancers in young people is increasing.

Doctors are uncertain why instances of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, have become more common among younger adults. Some suggest that behavioral changes, like increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy diets, and a more sedentary lifestyle, could play a role.

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