Examining the risk of colorectal cancer among young individuals in the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health

Principal Investigator: Dr. Darren Brenner

Affiliation: University of Calgary

Start Year: 2020

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in Canada and is responsible for the second most cancer-related deaths. Despite a decrease in the incidence of CRC among older age groups, an increase in the incidence of CRC for adults under the age of 50 has been observed in Canada and the United States, but the reasons for this remain unclear. Adults under the age of 50 diagnosed with CRC tend to have poorer survival because they are not routinely screened, thus are often diagnosed with advanced-stage of cancer. CRC in older adults has been studied extensively, but comparatively, little is known about risk factors for young-onset CRC.

The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath) is Canada’s largest population cohort study that was developed to explore relationships between lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors and chronic disease outcomes. In this project, we will use data from two sub-cohorts in CanPath (Alberta’s Tomorrow Project and Ontario’s Health Study) to examine risk factors of young-onset CRC (< 50 years of age). Results generated in this project will improve our understanding of CRC risk factors in younger adults, leading to improved prevention strategies for young adults at elevated risk of CRC.