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Potential Connection: Surging Colorectal Cancer Deaths in Young Adults Tied to Obesity and Alcohol

Recent projections on cancer deaths in the UK and the EU reveal an overall decline, with a 6% decrease for men and 4% for women between 2018 and 2024. Despite this optimistic trend, the Annals of Oncology reports a concerning rise in colorectal cancer deaths among young adults, highlighting the need for targeted interventions in specific cancer types.

Increase in colorectal cancer deaths in young adults predicted

In 2024, pancreatic cancer fatalities are projected to rise in the EU, with a marginal increase of 1% for men and 4% for women; however, a slight decline is anticipated in the UK. The concerning trend highlighted by scientists is the surge in colorectal cancer deaths among young adults. Despite an overall decrease, age-specific data reveals alarming statistics. In the UK, colorectal cancer fatalities in men aged 25 to 49 are predicted to spike by 26%, while among women in the same age bracket, the figure rises to nearly 39%.

This worrisome trend echoes observations by healthcare professionals in the U.S., emphasizing a critical public health concern. Additionally, specific populations within the EU, such as Italian men (1%) and women (2%), Polish men (almost 6%), Spanish men (5%), and German women (7%), are expected to experience an increase in colorectal cancer deaths within the 25-to-49 age group.

How Alcohol, Obesity, and Cancer Connect in Health Studies

The study doesn't definitively pinpoint the causes of colorectal cancer deaths in young adults but highlights lifestyle factors linked to the disease. These factors encompass obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity, diet, and alcohol consumption. Dr. Carlo La Vecchia notes a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer with conditions like obesity and diabetes. Heavy alcohol consumption raises the risk by 20 to 40 percent.

The National Cancer Institute suggests a potential 50% rise in colorectal cancer risk due to alcohol. The World Health Organization states there's no safe alcohol limit. Obesity, with a 30% higher likelihood of colorectal cancer, and its links to other cancers and health issues are emphasized.

Strategies for Reducing Colorectal Cancer Risk: Practical Tips for Prevention

Colorectal cancer stands as one of the deadliest forms, ranking third in diagnoses and second in cancer-related deaths in the United States, following lung cancer. Notably, diagnoses in adults under 55 have nearly doubled from 1995 to 2019. In 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lowered the recommended screening age from 50 to 45 due to rising rates in young adults.

The American Cancer Society emphasizes six key steps-

  • Get screened for colorectal cancer.

  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Lose weight if you have obesity.

  • Quit smoking or don’t start.

  • Don’t drink alcohol.

“Eat more plants and move your body every day. The more you build your lifestyle around those priorities, the easier it is to sustain.

Sources -Medical News Today



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