Is gender related to the stage of colorectal cancer at initial presentation in young patients?

Tiffany T. Fancher, J. Alexander Palesty, Laila Rashidi, Stanley J. Dudrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: The incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) in young adults is rising, and young age is a predictor of poor survival. The purpose of this study was to examine factors leading to increased mortality in patients ≤ 50 years of age, and to examine this population for characteristics that could lead to benefit from CRC screening. Methods: Charts of patients 50 years of age and under, diagnosed with CRC from 1998 through 2007, at our community teaching hospital, were reviewed retrospectively. Demographics, social and family history, staging, treatment and death were evaluated. Mann Whitney, Fisher Exact, and χ2 tests were used with P <0.05 considered statistically significant. Results: Forty-five young patients with CRC were identified. Twenty-five patients were female and 20 male; the mean age was 43.6 y. Most patients presented with rectal bleeding. Right-sided cancers had a higher presenting stage (P < 0.05). Men had both a higher presenting stage (P = 0.35) and a higher incidence of smoking compared with women (P = 0.001). Female patients were more likely to have left-sided CRC (65%) compared with men (35%). Ninety-six percent of patients underwent surgical resection; 14 patients died. Conclusions: CRC in young adults is not common, but is often advanced when discovered. Diagnostic efforts should be aggressive in young patients who have rectal bleeding, especially young male smokers. Sigmoidoscopy is not adequate for comprehensive diagnosis of CRC in young patients, as the majority have right-sided colon cancers, which often result in subsequent presentation of the disease at a higher stage, risk, and mortality rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-18
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Colon
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Rectum
  • Survival
  • Young patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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