A study has found that increasing numbers of young people are undergoing cancer treatment for bowel cancer.
Although the general incidence of the disease is receding, the number of patients who are under the age of 50 when they are diagnosed has risen.
The report, which was authored by American Cancer Society researchers and is published in this month's issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, suggests that increased obesity among the general public and diets characterised by fast food could be responsible.
According to the authors: "The disparate increase in left-sided colorectal [bowel] cancer suggests that particular attention be given to studies to elucidate the behavioural and environmental risk factors responsible for this trend and potential prevention and early detection strategies."
It has been widely reported that obesity is the leading cause of preventable death across the world and levels of childhood obesity have reached unprecedented proportions.