(HealthDay News) — There are steep incidence increases in colorectal cancer from age 49 to 50 years, according to a study published online Jan. 31 in JAMA Network Open.

Wesal H. Abualkhair, M.D., from the School of Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans, and colleagues examined the preclinical burden of colorectal cancer using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registries for colorectal cancer incidence rates from Jan. 1, 2000, to Dec. 31, 2015, in one-year age increments, focusing on the transition from age 49 to 50 years. A total of 170,434 cases of colorectal cancer were analyzed among 165,160 patients.

The researchers identified steep increases in colorectal cancer incidence from age 49 to 50 years (46.1 percent increase from 34.9 to 51 per 100,000 population). In all U.S. regions, among men and women, among white and black populations, and in colon and rectal cancers, there were steep rate increases from 49 to 50 years of age. The rate ratio incidence increase from 49 to 50 years of age was 1.46, which was significantly higher than earlier one-year age transitions. Steep rate increases were found from age 49 to 50 years in localized-stage and regional-stage colorectal cancers (75.9 and 30.3 percent increases, respectively).

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“Our findings suggest a high case burden of preclinical, undetected early-onset colorectal cancers in patients younger than 50 that is not reflected in observed incidence rates,” a coauthor said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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