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Several Nongenetic Factors Tied to Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer

Greater red meat intake, lower educational attainment, and heavier alcohol use up risk for early-onset colorectal cancer

FRIDAY, May 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A subset of established nongenetic risk factors for late-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) are also related to early-onset CRC, according to a study published online May 20 in JNCI Cancer Spectrum.

Alexi N. Archambault, M.P.H., from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues assessed whether risk factors associated with late-onset CRC were also associated with early-onset CRC and whether association patterns differed by anatomic subsite. The analysis included data pooled from 13 population-based studies (3,767 CRC cases and 4,049 controls aged younger than 50 years, and 23,437 CRC cases and 35,311 controls aged 50 years and older).

The researchers found that early-onset CRC was associated with not regularly using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (odds ratio [OR], 1.43), greater red meat intake (OR, 1.10), lower educational attainment (OR, 1.10), alcohol abstinence (OR, 1.23), and heavier alcohol use (OR, 1.25). None of these factors showed greater excess in early-onset versus late-onset CRC. Evaluating risks by anatomic subsite, lower total fiber intake was linked more strongly to rectal (OR, 1.30) than colon cancer (OR, 1.14).

“These results present key insights concerning risk factors that contribute to CRC manifestation in younger individuals, providing a basis for identification of those most at risk, which is imperative in mitigating the rising burden of this disease,” the authors write.

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