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Colorectal Tumors May Differ By Age: Study

Understanding the role age may play in colorectal tumor development was the aim of a recent study conducted at memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Well Cornell Medical College in New York. Researchers at those two institutions believe they have found evidence that suggests tumor formation and biology may differ depending on the age of the patient in question.

To arrive at those findings, researchers looked at the genomes of CRC tumors from 126 patients roughly age 50 and younger. These tumors were compared to those belonging to those of 368 patients who were old than age 50. The researchers looked at genomic sequences and other factors and came to the conclusion that tumors in younger people are different than those that present in older patients.

While more research is planned to further explore the tumor differences, the implications could be far reaching for colorectal tumor treatment. The potential for a differing tumor biology may give rise to the need for more individualized patient treatment based on age and tumor type.

In explaining the reasons for the tumor composition differences, researchers noted that younger patients tend to be diagnosed with CRC at much later stages of the disease. This is because younger patients may present with symptoms at first that are attributed to other causes. This, in turn, delays diagnosis and effective treatment.

Colorectal cancers are among the most commonly diagnosed in the United States. This form of cancer can strike men and women both and may technically present at any age. While most commonly associated with later life with most people diagnosed at the age of 50 or older, anyone can contract this disease regardless of age.

People who are at risk for this disease are urged to discuss it with their healthcare providers. Risk factors include obesity, age, smoking, heavy alcohol use, lack of physical activity, family history and more. Colorectal cancer, when detected early, can often be treated very effectively.

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