Gut bacteria may explain why more young people are getting colon cancer and how to prevent it

  • A new study looked at the gut microbiomes of people who got colon cancer in youth versus those who got the disease later in life.
  • Some strains of bacteria are more present in the intestines of young colon cancer patients than in older ones.
  • Colon cancer in people under the age of 55 has increased in the last two decades.

He gut microbiomeor the colony of bacteria that live inside our colon, could be an important clue in helping to determine whether a young person will develop colon cancer, a new study suggests.

Scientists have known certain bacteria it can alter the lining of the colon, which can lead to the formation of tumors and the development of cancer. Building on this, the Georgetown University researchers set out to find which strains of bacteria are most present in the intestines of young people who develop colon cancer.

The Georgetown researchers looked at the bacteria in the tumors of 36 people younger than 45 with colon cancer versus 27 people older than 65 with the disease.

They detected 917 unique species of bacteria and fungi in the tumors; various bacteria, including cladosporium, were more present in the intestines of younger colon cancer patients, while others, such as moraxella osloensiswere more present in older patients.

“We have trillions of bacteria residing in our bodies, including in our gut, some of which are implicated in the development of colorectal cancer, so we believe that the microbiome may be an important factor in the development of the disease,” he said. Benjamin Adam Weinberg, associate professor of medicine at Georgetown and lead author of the study, said in a release.

weinberg said Axios His team’s findings indicate that the composition of the gut microbiome could determine how soon a person will develop colon cancer, but it’s too early to say for sure. And since diet and environmental factors affect the composition of the microbiome, better understanding what it looks like in colon cancer patients may help determine which foods to avoid for prevention.

Weinberg and other researchers will present their findings at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago in June.

People are diagnosed with colon cancer at younger ages

More and more young people are diagnosed with and die from colon cancer. He colorectal cancer rate in people under the age of 55 doubled between 1995 and 2019, from 11% to 20%, according to the American Cancer Society. During the same time, the overall incidence of colon cancer decreased in the US.

Scientists predict that the disease will be the leading cause of cancer death among people under 50 years of age by 2030.

Colon cancer has a high survival rate when caught early, but young people are often not diagnosed until disease has reached an advanced stage: More than half of people under the age of 50 are diagnosed at stage three or four, compared to only 40% of people over the age of 50 diagnosed at those later stages.

They are suspicious, but researchers aren’t sure why more young people are getting colon cancer. diets rich in meat – like the popular ones carnivorous and keto diets: Might increase the risk of colon cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health. Rising rates of obesity among young people it could also influence the trend.

Doctors call for increased screening for colon cancer, particularly for people with a family history or risk factors. Scientists recently identified four different symptoms — abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and iron deficiency — are more likely to be experienced by young people with colon cancer.

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