Is young-onset colorectal cancer on the increase?

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer, accounting for 13% of all cancers in Canada. While age is an established risk factor for colorectal cancer (CRC), research suggesting the increasing burden of CRC among young persons has been the subject of recent headlines.

Data access has been approved for a research study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which will analyse administrative health databases in British Columbia (BC) to shed more light on growing problem of young-onset CRC.

“In light of emerging data on the increasing risk of young-onset colorectal cancer (yCRC) in other jurisdictions, it would be important to see if this is also happening in BC. With opportunities to link data from the BC Cancer Registry to Population Data BC holdings, I believe BC has the best data to examine the changing epidemiology of CRC”, says project lead, Dr. Mary DeVera, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia.

“We also need a better understanding of treatment patterns (including time to treatment, modalities of treatment) of individuals diagnosed with young-onset CRC and associated outcomes (including survival) in light of uncertainty regarding best practices and unique needs of this patient population.”

The research team combine expertise in epidemiology, health services research, health economics, and cancer research, and hope that, by providing timely data on the epidemiology, treatment, and outcomes in young onset CRC, findings from this study will help inform appropriate care for this devastating condition.

PopData will link five data sets from the BC Ministry of Health with data from Citizenship, Refugees and Immigration Canada, Statistics Canada, the BC Vital Statistics Agency and BC Cancer for the project.