Colorectal cancer in the young patient

Leff, Daniel R.; Chen, Alvin; Roberts, David; Grant, Katherine; Western, Catherine; Windsor, Alastair C. J.; Cohen, C. Richard G.
January 2007
American Surgeon;Jan2007, Vol. 73 Issue 1, p42
Academic Journal
journal article
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in the UK. It is estimated that between 2 to 3 per cent of colorectal cancer occurs in patients younger than the age of 40 years. It remains unclear from the literature whether this group of patients has a worse prognosis from colorectal cancer than the population as a whole. There are no large series that report a 10-year survival in young patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The authors' objective was to assess patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer younger than the age of 40 years to determine whether the 5- and 10-year survival rates in a tertiary referral center compares favorably with survival rates obtained at other centers and the population as a whole. A retrospective observational study was conducted and an analysis of the patient's notes was made, specifically looking at age at diagnosis, nature and duration of symptoms, predisposing risk factors for colorectal cancer, the site within the bowel of the colorectal cancer, the type of curative resection performed, Dukes' stage, and details of 5- and 10-year follow-up to assess survival. Forty-nine patients age 40 years or younger received treatment for colorectal cancer at St. Mark's Hospital from 1982 to 1992. The overall 5- and 10-year survival was 58 per cent and 46 per cent respectively. The study provides more evidence to support the fact that young patients with colorectal cancer seem to present with more advanced disease. Despite this, the overall 5-year relative survival rate is comparable if not better than other studies, supporting recent evidence that the prognosis in this group of patients is no worse than for colorectal cancer in the population as a whole.


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