Colorectal Cancer in Younger Adults

Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2022 Jun;36(3):449-470. doi: 10.1016/j.hoc.2022.02.005. Epub 2022 May 13.


Contrary to decreasing incidence rate of colorectal cancer (CRC) in older adults, incidence rates have nearly doubled in younger adults (age <50 years) in the United States since the early 1990s. A similar increase has been observed across the globe. Despite overall population trends in aging, about 15% of CRCs will be diagnosed in younger adults by 2030. The mechanisms and factors contributing to early-onset CRC (EOCRC) remain puzzling, especially because most young adults diagnosed with CRC have no known risk factors or predisposing conditions, such as family history of CRC or polyps or a hereditary syndrome (eg, Lynch syndrome, polyposis). In this up-to-date review, we discuss the current knowledge of EOCRC, including epidemiology, risk factors, clinical and molecular features, treatment and survival, and recognition and screening strategies.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Epidemiology; Risk factors; Young adult.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mass Screening / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult