Colorectal carcinoma in patients under age 40
Patients under the age of 40 with colorectal cancer (29 females, 18 males) were compared with similar patients in our general hospital population and analyzed for patterns of presentation, stage at diagnosis, degree of tumor differentiation, and survival. There was a higher incidence of poorly differentiated tumors in the young patients (21% vs. 8% in the general population). Colon cancer in young adults was in a more advanced stage at presentation. The survival rate for young patients was 23% vs. 61% for the general population (p = 0.02). Stage C patients treated for cure had a survival rate of 56% in the general population compared with 34% in young adults (p = 0.05). The degree of tumor differentiation did not affect survival in those young patients undergoing curative resections (41% for well-differentiated and 30% for poorly differentiated cancers, p = 0.09). The median survival time by stage was: Stage A and B (N = 3) 36 months, Stage C (N = 26) 32 months, and Stage D (N = 18) 15.8 months. The need for early recognition of colorectal cancer in young adults is emphasized by the greater incidence of advanced disease and the high failure rate.