Colorectal cancer in patients 20 years old or less in Taiwan

Liang Kung Chen, Shinn Jang Hwang, Anna Fen Yao Li, Jen Kou Lin, Tzee Chung Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is predominantly a disease of the elderly population, but it sometimes occurs in young patients. The diagnosis of CRC in youngsters is often overlooked by physicians or presentation may be delayed. Methods. With assistance from the cancer registry center of Taipei Veterans General Hospital, we collected data on all types of colorectal malignancy, including carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, or lymphoma in patients aged 20 or younger. All available medical charts and pathologic specimens were reviewed in detail. Results. A total of 28 cases were analyzed. The leading presenting symptom was abdominal pain (92%). The locations of the primary tumors were evenly distributed, and the major histologic type was predominantly adenocarcinoma. However, the proportion of mucinous adenocarcinoma was higher than that in the older population. Most of the cases were advanced (11 tumors were classified as Dukes stage C and another 11 as Dukes stage D). The overall 5-year survival rate was 21%. Conclusions. Despite the rarity of CRC during the first two decades of life, physicians need to be aware of the possibility and to evaluate suggestive signs and symptoms by colonoscopy or barium enema. Family history of CRC, inflammatory bowel disease, previous polyps, or familial polyposis did not play a crucial role in this group of young patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1202-1205
Number of pages4
JournalSouthern Medical Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2001


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