For men in Massachusetts and across the U.S., colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer after lung and prostate. For women, it occupies the same position after lung and breast cancer. The CDC says that 52,547 people died from colorectal cancer in 2017, the latest year with complete data.
Colorectal cancer seen in more younger people
Colorectal cancer is also being diagnosed in more people under the age of 50. This trend has been continuing since the 1990s. According to the American Cancer Society, the median age of colorectal cancer patients was 72 in 1989 but 66 in 2016. While increased screening explains the drop in the incidence rate among older people, experts do not understand the rising incidence rate in younger people.
One possible factor is diet, which plays a large role in colon health. Even antibiotics and other drugs can influence what microorganisms compose the intestinal microbiota. In any event, it makes sense that the American Cancer Society recommends colorectal cancer screening from age 45.
The future of colorectal cancer
Experts have estimated that in 2020, 147,950 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Of these, 17,930 will be under 50. In addition, 53,200 people are expected to die from it this year, and 3,640 will likely be under 50.
For those harmed by a diagnostic error
Under medical malpractice law, those who are injured as a result of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may be eligible for compensation if the doctor clearly failed to adhere to an objective standard of care. Perhaps you or someone you know has colorectal cancer and could have had it identified earlier. A lawyer may evaluate the case and determine what would be a good amount in damages. The lawyer may tackle negotiations, too.