Health Buzz: Rectal Cancer on the Rise in Adults Under 40

Avoiding salmonella from eggs; prenatal pesticide exposure increases ADHD risk.

By SHARE

Though the overall risk is still low, rectal cancer rates are rising in younger people, a new study suggests. Between 1984 and 2005, the rate of those under 40 who were diagnosed with the disease increased by nearly 4 percent each year, according to researchers who analyzed more than 30 years of data from a national cancer registry. What's driving the trend, however, is unclear. "We've scoured the literature for a cause and spoken to others in the field, and we haven't identified anything that is able to explain this," lead author Joshua Meyer told Reuters. "It's a little bit puzzling." Over the study period, researchers identified 1,922 people younger than 40 with rectal cancer—or about 1 in 240,000 adults. While rectal and colon cancer are often grouped together and are thought to share similar risk factors, diagnoses of the latter have remained largely unchanged since the 1970s, according to the report published in Cancer.

  • A Blood Test for Colon Cancer Sounds Great—But It's Short on Proof
  • Due for a Colonoscopy? Make Yours a Good One
  • Avoid Salmonella from Eggs: 4 Steps to Take Now

    When salmonella outbreaks occurred from eating tainted spinach or peanut butter, we knew that, short of avoiding these foods, we couldn't do much to reduce our risk. That's because the bacteria—responsible for 40,000 reported cases of food poisoning each year—can only be killed with high heat, and who wants to cook salad and peanut butter? But the big news last week about salmonella outbreaks linked to eggs—380 million have been recalled and counting—should serve as a wakeup call for prevention, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz writes. Sure, our government must investigate what's going on in the henhouse, but we should also remember to treat raw eggs like raw chicken: wash our hands after handling them and only eat them when they're cooked.

    Sounds simple right? After all, most of us, save for Rocky wannabes, don't gulp a glass of raw eggs for breakfast. But we do make eggnog with uncooked eggs. (Thank goodness it isn't holiday season.) And many of us can't resist licking cake batter or sampling cookie dough. Plus, let's not forget the dressing and sauce recipes that call for raw eggs: Caesar salad dressing; Béarnaise sauce; Hollandaise sauce; mayonnaise. Restaurant fare that contains undercooked or mishandled eggs, however, may be trickier to avoid. The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that California high school students developed severe stomach aches in May after eating custard-filled pastries at a catered prom dinner, while a woman in Wisconsin got a high fever and diarrhea after eating a Cobb salad; in both cases, the eggs in their food came from the same farm in Galt, Iowa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it received nearly 2,000 reports of salmonella poisoning from May through July compared with the usual 700 cases seen in previous years, which spurred the agency to start investigating, and led to last week's massive egg recall. [Read more: Avoid Salmonella from Eggs: 4 Steps to Take Now.]

    • 4 'Harmless' Acts That Could Give You Food Poisoning
    • The Basics on the Foodfight Over Irradiation
    • Pesticide Exposure in the Womb Increases ADHD Risk

      Exposure to pesticides while in the womb may increase the odds that a child will have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to researchers at the University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health. Combine that with research published in May in Pediatrics finding that children exposed to pesticides were more likely to have ADHD, and it's enough to make parents wonder how to reduce their family's exposure to pesticides, writes U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute.

      The California researchers are studying the impact of environmental exposures on the health of women and children who live in the Salinas Valley, an agricultural region with heavy pesticide use. They tested the urine of pregnant women for pesticide residue, and then tested the behavior of their children at ages 3½ and 5. The 5-year-olds who had been exposed to organophosphate pesticides while in the womb had more problems with attention and behavior than did children who were not exposed. What's more, the heavier the pesticide exposure, the more likely that the child would have symptoms of ADHD . The results were published online in Environmental Health Perspectives. [Read more: Pesticide Exposure in the Womb Increases ADHD Risk.]