lifestyle habits and behavior among young onset colorectal cancer patients may suggest need for better prevention education

Authors: Springer T, Newcomer K, Peterson D, Yarden R

Category: Lifestyles Behavior, Energy Balance & Chemoprevention
Conference Year: 2020

Abstract Body:
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among men and women combined. Multiple lifestyle habits, including alcohol usage, smoking, diet choices, and lack of physical activity have been linked to increased risk of colorectal cancer. While traditionally treated as a geriatric disease, incidences of CRC in persons under age 50 have grown 2% annually since 1992 and 1 in every 10 new patients is diagnosed before the age of 50. The factors contributing to the aggressive biology and increasing prevalence of young-onset CRC remain unclear. Objective: To determine if specific lifestyle habits are associated with the development of young-onset colorectal cancer. Methods: An online survey based on established instruments were used to retroactively assess the lifestyle habits of young-onset colorectal cancer patients and survivors. Results: A cross-sectional study of 885 colorectal cancer patients and survivors show that 77% of participants were diagnosed at advanced stages of the disease (stages III and IV). The majority of participants (54%) received their initial diagnosis between the ages of 40 - 49, with a median age of 44, which is younger than screening guidelines, yet most participants (68%) reported no family history of CRC. While the majority of participants (79%) considered themselves with average to excellent health prior to their diagnosis, we identified many lifestyle habits and behavior that are known to increase the risk of colorectal cancer. According to BMI calculations, the majority of respondents (66%) should be considered overweight or obese. About 70% used to smoke at least one pack of cigarettes a week, with 18% of participants used to smoke a pack a day. Our survey showed that men were more likely to consume alcohol than women and less likely to follow dietary recommendations for daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Soda was a preferred drink by many of the participants. Conclusions: our survey demonstrates a lack of knowledge related to modifiable risk factors that can contribute to colorectal cancer development. Education on healthy habits, in addition to reduced screening age, may contribute to prevention and the early detection of colorectal cancer among patients younger than 50 years old.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer cancer risk lifestyle self-reported