Why Has Rectal Cancer Quadrupled in Millennials?

The risk is still small, but that's a notable increase.
February 28, 2017, 10:07pm

Cancers of the colon and rectum are on the rise in young people. Though the number of Americans over 55 diagnosed with the diseases has steadily dropped, Millennials now have double the risk of developing colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer as someone born in 1950 at the same age, with rates as high as they were in 1890. These were the findings in a new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. They looked at a well-known data set of nearly 500,000 patients 20 and older diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1974 and 2013, and divvied them up by what year they were born and their age at diagnosis. They found that from the mid-80s to 2013, the incidence of colon cancer has been rising fastest for people between the ages of 20 and 29, by 2.4 percent per year (it also rose for people ages 30-39 in that same time frame, and, starting in the mid-90s, for people in their 40s, too). The increase was even more dramatic for rectal cancers, increasing by about 4 percent per year for adults in their 20s since since 1974. Read more on Tonic