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Before the Pain

The "Who?" of Bowel Cancer Predictions

As colorectal cancer occurrences in people under age 50 increase, researchers have developed a risk prediction model. The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, hopes to identify those at risk well before they experience abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, low blood counts, or other early warning signs. How? By incorporating a risk score that includes genetic variants and environment and lifestyle factors, such as whether or not the person smokes, and nutritional variables such as fiber and red meat intake.

The study “evaluated risks for early-onset colorectal cancer in 3,486 cases and 3,890 controls” and “Based on absolute risks, we can expect 26 excess cases per 10,000 men and 21 per 10,000 women, among those scoring at the 90th percentile for both risk scores.” Although the research is in its early phase and larger trials are called for, the “ultimate goal is to have a predictive test for all people to gauge when they, based on their own genetic and personal health factors, need to start routine screening for colorectal cancer,” says Richard Hayes, PhD, DDS, MPH, co-senior investigator.

 

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