Colorectal Cancer Is on the Rise in Young Adults
They’re reluctant to have invasive colonoscopies, but a simple blood test could improve compliance
By Shai Friedland
There has been increasing attention directed towards the rising rate of colorectal cancer in younger age groups. In the United States, there was a 51 percent increase in colorectal cancer incidence in adults younger than 55 years old between 1994 and 2014. Partly in response to this alarming trend, the American Cancer Society (ACS) lowered the recommended age at which to begin screening from 50 to 45. Several screening options exist, although the two prominent ones in the United States are colonoscopy and fecal immunochemical tests (FIT), stool tests that detect small amounts of blood. In practice, FIT is used to select a subset of patients for colonoscopy—those with a higher amount of blood in the stool than the threshold set by the laboratory, as blood in the stool is commonly associated with cancer.