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Younger Adults Miss Warning Signs in Colorectal Cancer
With the rising number of cases of colorectal cancer among adults under 50, new research suggests young people ignore a common warning sign of the disease: passing blood in the stool. Rectal bleeding is associated with a fivefold increased risk of colorectal cancer, according to a study published May 24 in JAMA Network Open. The study, a review of existing research, included nearly 25 million adults under 50 from 81 previously published studies. It showed delays in diagnosis of four to six months after symptoms were first presented to physicians. Colon and rectal cancer rates have declined among older people, who are far more likely to get colonoscopies, according to an article in the New York Times that reported the findings. Millennials born around 1990 are at almost twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer compared with people born in the 1950s. Still, colonoscopies aren’t recommended for people until the age of 45, unless they have a family history of colorectal cancer. The study authors highlighted other colorectal cancer warning signs in the New York Times article, including abdominal pain, anemia and changes in bowel habits.

Active Surveillance Can be Effective in Low-Risk Prostate Cancer

Many times, people with low-risk prostate cancer are offered a treatment that doesn’t seem like treatment at all. Active surveillance involves monitoring to detect signs of cancer growth without treatments, such as surgery or radiation. That’s because, in many cases, prostate cancer is slow-growing and poses no immediate threat to a person’s life, according to an article published May 30 on Healthline. The article covered a JAMA study that looked at the health outcomes of prostate cancer patients over 10 years following an active surveillance protocol. The multicenter research study, called Canary PASS, observed men with prostate cancer who received ongoing biopsies, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, and other screening methods to track cancer growth. In this study, 10 years after diagnosis, 49% of men remained free of progression or treatment, less than 2% developed metastatic disease, and less than 1% died of their disease. Later progression and treatment during surveillance were not associated with worse outcomes. “I hope that both patients and their doctors are reassured that favorable risk cancer does not need to be treated right away. I hope that our results increase the national acceptance of active surveillance instead of immediate treatment for prostate cancer,” said study author Lisa Newcomb, a researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, in the Healthline article.

Hospitals Serving Minority Communities Are Less Likely to Deliver Certain Treatments

Cancer patients who were treated at hospitals that serve mainly minority communities are less likely to receive the recommended treatment for their diagnosis, according to a new study published May 27 in Cancer. The study, which analyzed 2.9 million U.S. patients who received care at 1,330 hospitals between 2010 and 2019, showed hospitals serving mainly minority communities were less likely to deliver treatments, such as surgery and radiation, to people with breast, prostate, colon and non-small cell lung cancer compared with other hospitals. The findings build on researchers’ continuing efforts to identify disparities affecting racial and ethnic minorities. Just two weeks ago, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) published the AACR Cancer Disparities Progress Report 2024, which provides an in-depth review of recent statistics and research, along with personal stories from cancer survivors of various backgrounds. (The AACR publishes the disparities report and Cancer Today.)