Colon cancer at a younger age is generally more aggressive and the chances of survival are lower than in older people, as explained by the research team led by Carlo La Vecchia, from the University of Milan, in the journal “Annals of Oncology” . extend colon cancer prevention to younger people, from 45 years of age. In Austria, policyholders aged 50 and over can have a colonoscopy free of charge. Colon cancer usually arises from growths in the intestinal wall. These can be removed during surgery. colonoscopy before they can develop into colon cancer.
According to the research team's forecast for 2024, the death rate from colon cancer will increase particularly sharply compared to 2018 in Great Britain: 26 percent in men and almost 39 percent in women in this age group. Also in Italy (1.5 percent more for men and 2.6 percent for women), among Spanish and Polish men (5.5 and 5.9 percent more, respectively) and among women over 25 at age 49 in Germany (plus 7.2 percent) there will be an increase. The absolute numbers for young people are still comparatively low.
Overall Declining Death Rates
The rising rates among young people are worrying, says La Vecchia – especially as diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer have improved. Calculated across all age groups, the colon cancer mortality rate decreases when the age structure of the population is taken into account.
According to La Vecchia's team, age-standardized cancer mortality rates continue to decline across the EU: on average, considering all types of cancer considered, they fell by 6.5% for men, from 132 to 123 per 100,000 population, compared to 2018. and 4.3 percent for women aged 82.5 to 79 per 100,000 population. With the age-standardized rate, the age distribution of the population is taken into account as a calculation factor.
1.27 million deaths in the EU
However, the real number of cancer deaths is rising due to the growing number of older people: for men in the EU, from around 675,000 in 2018 to over 705,000 in 2024 and for women from around 535,000 to more than 566,000. According to forecasts, around 1.27 million people in the EU will die from cancer this year. La Vecchia believes that more policy measures are needed to promote physical activity and reduce alcohol consumption, among other things.
The data used by the study authors are from the World Health Organization (WHO). They considered information from 1970 to the most recent data available (between 2017 and 2021). This is the 14th year in a row that the team has published such forecasts.