The prevalence of pre-cancerous masses in the colon is the same for average-risk patients who are 40 to 49 years of age and those who are 50 to 59 years of age, according to a study published in the current issue of Gastroenterology, the journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute. In comparing colonoscopy results by age group, the team of scientists found that in the 40 to 49 age group, 79 patients, or 14 percent, had one or more adenoma or pre-cancerous growth. Similarly, the 50 to 59 age group had 56 patients, or 16 percent, with one or more adenoma.
Data from a centralized digital medical record system were analyzed by a team of researchers led by Alfred I. Neugut, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and head of cancer prevention and control for the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and Andrew Rundle, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. The researchers reviewed 553 screening colonoscopies for patients ages 40 to 49 and 352 screening colonoscopies for patients ages 50 to 59. Individuals who could be deemed "high-risk" because of a family history of colon cancer, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, or any malignancy other than skin cancer were excluded from the sample.
Currently, standard protocol recommends screening patients age 50 and over for colon cancer based on the increasing incidence of colon cancer at that age. Because observational studies have shown that it takes a decade for adenomas to develop and progress to cancer, the increase in colon cancer prevalence in the over-50 age group, in fact, may be the result of undetected adenomas that were present in the individuals in their 40s.
"Our results support the theory that adenomas, which later may lead to cancer, form at an age earlier than we screen for today," said Dr. Neugut. "With this information in hand, it is logical to think that if we were to recommend screening for colon cancer at age 40, we may be able to decrease its prevalence even further and save more people from having to battle the disease."
Though the number of adenomas was relatively similar in the two age groups, there was a doubling in the prevalence of abnormal cell growth, or advanced neoplasia, in the 50 to 59 age group versus the 40 to 49 age group. While not statistically significant, in the 40 to 49 age group, 11 patients, or two percent, had an advanced neoplasm, and in the 50 to 59 age group, 13 patients, or four percent, had an advanced neoplasm.
"What this implies is that while the number of pre-cancerous growths is very similar in both age groups, there is a progression toward cancer in older patients," noted Dr. Rundle. "Abnormal cell growth is a warning sign of cancer, so the fact that there's an increase in advanced neoplasia in the older age group is in line with the increased colon cancer incidence we see in individuals over the age of 50. Detecting adenomas when patients are in their 40s could mean that we are able to drastically lower the prevalence of colorectal cancer. Additional studies need to be done to look specifically at this possibility and the cost-benefit of beginning screening at an earlier age."
Only one prior study has investigated the prevalence of colorectal adenomas in average-risk individuals aged 40 to 49 years in the U.S., and it reports very similar findings: an adenoma prevalence of 11 percent in the age group.
Stephanie Berger | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy