COVID-19 and Colorectal Cancer Get The Facts

Do young diabetes patients need early CRC screening?

12 August 2020

Recent findings from a Swedish cohort study found that people with diabetes had an increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), a risk similar to individuals with a family history of CRC. The study included over 12 million individuals of varying age groups. Analysis of the data found:

• Among individuals who were diagnosed with diabetes before 50 years of age, their risk of developing CRC before 50 years of age increased 9-fold
• Lifetime risk developing CRC before 50 years of age among diabetic patients (0.4%) was similar to those who had only a family history of CRC (0.5%), and double that of the average population (0.2%).

The study findings show an association between early-onset diabetes and early-onset CRC that warrants further investigation, making a case for earlier CRC screening among young adults with diabetes.

Results from the South Australian Young Onset (SAYO) CRC study found a similar association between personal and family history of diabetes and CRC risk. Study findings include:

• 24% of CRC patients also suffered from type II diabetes, compared to 5% of the control group (the individuals included in the study who did not have CRC)
• 51% of young adults with CRC had at least one first-degree relative with type II diabetes
• 44% of CRC patients under 45 years of age and 60% of CRC patients 45-54 years of age had a first-degree relative with type II diabetes

These study findings further highlight the importance of the association between young adults with diabetes and the risk of early-onset CRC, underlining the importance of earlier surveillance and screening (earlier than the standard 50 years of age).

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