Background/aims: Recently an increasing number of young colorectal carcinoma patients attending the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur were noted. This report represents our experience with patients suffering from colorectal cancer aged 30 years or younger.
Materials and methods: All cases of primary carcinoma of the colon and rectum admitted to the University Hospital during 1990 to 1994 were respectively reviewed. Inclusion criteria was that the patient had been 30 years or younger. Data collected included age, gender, race, site of tumour, presenting symptomatology, duration of symptoms, histology, extension of tumour and nodal involvement predisposing factors, treatment and follow-up.
Results: 21 patients were included, 5 patients (24%) were 30 years old at diagnosis, 12 (57%) patients were aged 20-29 years and 4 patients (19%) were less than 20 years old. Thirteen of the 21 patients were female, and 8 (38%) were male, 6 of the 21 patients (29%) were Malaysian, while 1 was Indian (4%). The remainder were Chinese, 14 patients (67%). Six patients (29%) had their primary tumour located in the rectosigmoid, 4 (19%) in the left colon, 1 (4%) in the splenic flexure, 2 in the transverse colon (9%), 1 in the hepatic flexure (4%) and 5 in the caecum 24(%). One patient had a tumour too diffuse to detect a primary site at the time of operation. One patient with a family history of polyps had his entire colon removed at age 14. He had 3 separate foci of tumour. The 5-year survival rate was 25%.
Discussion: Most patients with extensive disease and mucinous histology. Lesions are commonly seen beyond the transverse colon (57%). Presentation included most commonly abdominal pain, haematochezia or haemoccult positive stools.
Conclusion: The symptoms above should alert surgeons to colorectal carcinoma as a differential diagnosis.