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Prevalence of pre-cancerous masses in the colon same in patients in their 40s and 50s
Date:5/30/2008

Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. "With this information in hand, it is logical to think that if we were to recommend screening for colon cancer at age 40, we may be able to decrease its prevalence even further and save more people from having to battle the disease."

Though the number of adenomas was relatively similar in the two age groups, there was a doubling in the prevalence of abnormal cell growth, or advanced neoplasia, in the 50 to 59 age group versus the 40 to 49 age group. While not statistically significant, in the 40 to 49 age group, 11 patients, or 2 percent, had an advanced neoplasm, and in the 50 to 59 age group, 13 patients, or 4 percent, had an advanced neoplasm.

"What this implies is that while the number of pre-cancerous growths is very similar in both age groups, there is a progression toward cancer in older patients," said Andrew Rundle, DrPH, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health. "Abnormal cell growth is a warning sign of cancer, so the fact that there's an increase in advanced neoplasia in the older age group is in line with the increased colon cancer incidence we see in individuals over the age of 50. Detecting adenomas when patients are in their 40s could mean that we are able to drastically lower the prevalence of colorectal cancer. Additional studies need to be done to look specifically at this possibility and the cost-benefit of beginning screening at an earlier age."

EHE International, which sponsored the research, has been providing comprehensive physical exams for 95 years, and since 2002 has been using a digital electronic medical record system that can provide anonymous, de-identified data for biomedical research. "We are thrilled that the medical record data that we have accumulated over the years through our business can be used to conduct such important research and promote the greater good," said Deborah McKeever, president of EHE International.
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Contact: Aimee Frank
media@gastro.org
301-941-2620
American Gastroenterological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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