Women diagnosed with endometrial cancer before age 50 face markedly increased risks of developing colorectal cancer, according to new research presented at a meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Las Vegas this week.
The study, by researchers at the University of Manitoba, is based on an analysis of medical charts of 3,115 women diagnosed with endometrial cancer between 1987 and 2008 and 15,084 other similar, but healthy women.
The results showed younger endometrial cancer patients had a four-fold increased risk of being subsequently diagnosed with colorectal cancer, compared to the general population. There was no increased risk for colorectal cancer among women 50 or older diagnosed with endometrial cancer, which which occurs in the inner lining of the uterus and strikes about one in 38 women, according to the American Cancer Society. SPECIAL: This Small Group of Doctors are Quietly Curing Cancer — Read More.
"This study suggests there is an increased risk of colorectal cancer after a diagnosis of endometrial cancer among young women," said investigator Dr. Harminder Singh. "Colorectal cancer screening should start at a younger age in such women."
A second study presented at the meeting, by researchers from the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, found extended family members of colorectal patients — including first-, second and third-degree relatives — also face a greater risk of developing the disease, suggesting a genetic component may be a-t work.
For the study, researchers tracked 3,804 Utah cancer patients — between 50 and 80 years old — and their relatives from 1995 to 2009. The results showed that first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) of individuals with colorectal cancer had an 80 percent increased risk of developing the disease themselves. Second-degree relatives (aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, grandchildren, half-siblings) had an increased risk of 30 percent. Third-degree relatives (first cousins, great-grandparents, great-grandchildren) had an increased risk of 15 percent.
Lead researcher Dr. Niloy Jewel Samadder said a key message from the study is that "the risk for colorectal cancer doesn't stop at our first-degree relatives.” He urged patients to be aware of their extended family histories and encouraged physicians to look beyond a patient's parents and grandparents when assessing colorectal cancer risk.
Two other colorectal cancer-related studies presented at the Las Vegas meeting suggested overweight African American and Hispanic men may be at greater risk for precancerous polyps which if not detected early enough could lead to colorectal cancer. SPECIAL: This Small Group of Doctors are Quietly Curing Cancer — Read More.