Monday January 22, 2018

Cancer can now be predicted 13 years before it strikes

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Cancer research has just got a huge boost. The rejuvenated shot comes with the development of an error free and accurate test by scientists that predicts the chances of being implicated with cancer up to 13 years in the future.

The breakthrough was made by researchers at Harvard and Northwestern University, by making use of the discovery of tiny but significant changes taking place in the body, more than a decade before cancer was diagnosed.

According to the research, published in the online journal Ebiomedicine, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, which prevent DNA damage, were more worn down for those who went on to develop cancer.

The protective caps, better known as “telomeres”, were found to be much shorter than they should have been. They continued to get shorter and then suddenly stopped shrinking four years before the cancer developed.

Dr Lifang Hou, the lead study author, told The Telegraph, “Because we saw a strong relationship in the pattern across a wide variety of cancers, with the right testing these procedures could be used eventually to diagnose a wide variety of cancers.”

“Understanding this pattern of telomere growth may mean it can be a predictive biomarker for cancer. We found cancer has hijacked the telomere shortening in order to flourish in the body”, he further said.

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Colorectal Cancer Rising Among Younger Adults

Researchers note that rates of colorectal cancer have been falling since the 1980s.

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Colorectal Cancer rising among the young adults. Pixabay
Colorectal Cancer rising among the young adults. Pixabay
  • Latest research says young adults have higher chances of having colorectal cancer
  • Risk is higher in those born in 1990
  • The research also has stats for other kinds of cancer

Americans born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer than those born around 1950, a new study suggests.

The study found that colorectal cancer is on the rise among young and middle-aged adults in their early 50s. Rectal cancer is growing particularly fast among people younger than 55, with 30 percent of diagnoses in people under 55.

“Trends in young people are a bellwether for the future disease burden,” said Rebecca Siegel, of the American Cancer Society and lead author of the study that appeared in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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The risk is more for people born in 1990 than those in 1950. Wikimedia commons
The risk is more for people born in 1990 than those in 1950. Wikimedia commons

“Our finding that colorectal cancer risk for millennials has escalated back to the level of those born in the late 1800s is very sobering. Educational campaigns are needed to alert clinicians and the general public about this increase to help reduce delays in diagnosis, which are so prevalent in young people, but also to encourage healthier eating and more active lifestyles to try to reverse this trend.”

Researchers note that rates of colorectal cancer have been falling since the 1980s with an even steeper decline in the past decade, which has been caused by more screening.

But they wanted to find out why some studies have shown a rising rate among people under 50 for whom screening is generally not done. For their study, researchers looked at cases of colorectal cancer in people over 20 from 1974 to 2013. There were 490,305 cases.

Cancer rate declined generally but increased in this particular age group. VOA
Cancer rate declined generally but increased in this particular age group. VOA

The data showed the rates of colon cancer initially decreased after 1974, but then grew by one or two percent from the mid-1980s to 2013 among adults aged 20 to 39. For people aged 40 to 54, the rates increased between .5 percent and one percent from the mid 1990s to 2013.

For rectal cancer, the increases were greater, with rates rising about three percent per year from 1974 to 2013 in adults aged 20 to 29. For adults between 30 and 39, there was a similar rise from 1980 to 2013. For adults between 40 and 54, rates increased by two percent from the 1990s to 2013.

Rates for adults older than 55 has been declining for about 40 years, researchers said.

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Researchers say the results could change the age at which screening for colorectal cancer starts and cite 10,400 cases diagnosed in people in their 40s plus 12,800 cases in people in their early 50s.

“These numbers are similar to the total number of cervical cancers diagnosed, for which we recommend screening for the 95 million women ages 21 to 65 years,” Siegel said. VOA

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