Fight CRC is hosting a virtual global symposium on Thursday, June 11, with international research partners to convene and strategize a response to the rise of early-age onset colorectal cancer (EAO CRC). Inaccurately coined an “old man’s disease,” colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the United States and is now on the rise in those younger than age 50. An international, coordinated effort to combat the disease is needed, and Fight CRC is taking the lead in partnership with experts on the global stage.
The rise in young-adult colorectal cancer cases is not confined to the United States. According to Rebecca Siegel, MPH, a cancer epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society (ACS), “Early-age onset colorectal cancer is increasing in at least nine countries across three continents where rates are stable or declining in older adults, signaling changes in early-life exposures that increase cancer risk.” Sigel continued, “The rising burden of early-onset colorectal cancer is a global phenomenon that requires coordinated international efforts not only to discover the cause through research but also to destigmatize the disease and increase awareness of symptoms in order to save lives through earlier detection; two out of every three patients under 50 in the United States is diagnosed with advanced-stage disease.”
In an effort to combat this critical issue head-on, Fight CRC is collaborating with Dr. Jose Perea of the Jimenez Diaz Foundation University Hospital in Madrid to host the virtual Early-Age Onset CRC Symposium, ensuring that the work retains a global focus.
According to Dr. Perea, “The rise of EAO CRC appears to be an issue worldwide. Seeing as the majority of cases do not have a hereditary component, it is necessary to explore causation from an international perspective.”
Fight CRC is not only hearing the urgency from the CRC community but is on the front lines of addressing it. As a neutral convener working alongside partners like the ACS and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Fight CRC holds a unique and invaluable position to accelerate the understanding of early-age onset colon and rectal cancers, ensuring that the voice of the patient guides each step.
Andrea (Andi) Dwyer, Advisor to Fight CRC Research and Patient Education of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, stated, “In my research and public health career, I have not seen such a swift and deliberate response to a health concern, signifying the urgency of this issue. On behalf of Fight CRC, I am honored to be leading an effort to address EAO CRC with a deliberate response to save as many young lives as possible.”
This isn’t the first step Fight CRC is taking against EAO CRC. In February 2019, Fight CRC convened a dedicated research meeting to create a blueprint to study why this is happening and what the risks and exposures might be. The meeting summary was subsequently published in Gastroenterology, with guidance from 40 experts from five countries.
The plan suggests coordinated and actionable steps to prioritize research, education, public health, and medical approaches to EAO CRC. Fight CRC was called upon to then continue to convene this group, which has now turned into a formal working group in one short year, with nearly 100 people worldwide engaging in the effort. Anyone who has been affected by EAO CRC, including physicians, patients, family members, caregivers, and others, including media, are invited to attend the free virtual symposium.