Incidence of colorectal cancer in young patients

ABSTRACT Sporadic colorectal cancer (CRC) is traditionally diagnosed after de sixth decade of life, although a small percentage of cases are diagnosed in patients under 40 years of age, and incidence is increasing. There exists a great volume of controversy regarding clinical outcome of young patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) when compared to elder counterparts. Our aims were to evaluate the rate of CRC in young patients, to review the pertaining literature and to discuss outcomes and clinical prognosis. A retrospective review involving patients with CRC was undertaken, focusing on age at diagnosis. The information extracted from this literature review showed a trend towards a decreased incidence in older people with an opposite effect among adolescents and young adults. Moreover, biological aggressiveness in young adults diagnosed with CRC has not been fully recognized, although it is usually diagnosed later and in association with adverse histological features. Besides that, these features don't affect outcome. These apparent increase in CRC incidence among young patients during the last decades raises the need for a greater suspicious when evaluating common symptoms in this group. Thus, educational programs should widespread information for both population and physicians to improve prevention and early diagnosis results.