With the alarming rise in colorectal cancer in patients under 50 years old, the Mass General Cancer Center established the Center for Young Adult Colorectal Cancer, a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program to address the unique needs of young and mid-life adults with colorectal cancer.
The Center for Young Adult Colorectal Cancer at the Mass General Cancer Center was created to address the vast unmet needs of colorectal cancer patients under the age of 50 and to provide specialized and personalized care for these patients. With this program, we hope to move the needle for these patients focusing on interception and intervention to advances therapeutic approaches for patients. Often these adults may feel as though they do not fit the description of an adolescent young adult, nor with the average age of the elderly colorectal cancer patient.
Multidisciplinary Patient Care
At the Mass General Cancer Center, patients will have the opportunity to see a comprehensive care team from medical oncology, radiation oncology, and surgery at their first visit and in a single multidisciplinary appointment. They can expect to have their ongoing care from a team of experts who specialize in their unique population and who have a vested interest in colorectal cancer research in young and mid-life adults. This team includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and gastrointestinal (GI) surgeons as well as Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), clinical and research nurses, gastroenterologists, radiologists, and genetic counselors.
Young adult patients with metastatic colorectal liver cancer (cancer that has spread from the colon to the liver) have access to Mass General's Hepatic Artery Infusion Pump Program, a highly specialized, multidisciplinary collaboration that uses hepatic artery pumps (also known as liver chemotherapy pumps) to treat primary and metastatic tumors of the liver.
Meet the Team
Led by director Aparna Parikh, MD, the Young Adult Colorectal Cancer Center offers each patient a multidisciplinary team of experienced colorectal cancer specialists.
Meet the Team
Personalized Supportive Care
Our Center for Young Adult Colorectal Cancer also provides patients with many services tailored to young and mid-life adult patients, including but not limited to:
What is Early-Onset or Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer patients diagnosed before the age of 50 are considered early-onset or young-onset patients.
What are the current colorectal cancer screening guidelines?
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently revised colorectal cancer screening guidelines to start earlier at age 45 instead of 50 for people at average risk given the rise of colorectal cancer in younger patients.
Why has there been a rise in colorectal cancer in adults under 50 years old?
The reasons for the rise in colorectal cancer in adults under 50 years old is under active investigation and is multifactorial including a combination of genetics and non-genetic external factors such as diet, exercise and environmental factors.
How is the Center for Young Adult Colorectal Cancer at the Mass General Cancer Center focused on colorectal cancer in patients under 50 years old?
Our multidisciplinary team of experts specialize in colorectal cancer in patients under 50 years old. As part of the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers at Mass General Cancer Center, our specialists provide in-depth expertise in diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.
What does a first appointment in the program look like/what can I expect during my first appointment?
At the first appointment, when appropriate, patients will meet with a team from medical and radiation oncology, and surgery --- all in one exam room, all during one, single appointment. This truly multidisciplinary appointment structure provides patients with the convenience of talking with their care team as a group, and the comfort of knowing their care team is in sync with each other in determining the patient’s best course for treatment.
What support services does the Cancer Center offer?
We offer a variety of educational and support resources to help patients and their families throughout their cancer experience. We understand that early-onset or young-onset colorectal cancer patients may have concerns specific to their stage in life, so we offer support services tailored to their needs, including services that address fertility, parenting, sexual health, diet and nutrition, exercise, mental health, genetic counseling, and more.
I’m a parent. Do you have resources to help me during this time?
Yes. Our Parenting At a Challenging Time (PACT) program has clinicians who are available to consult with young adult colorectal cancer patients who are parents.
Research and Clinical Trials
The Center for Young Adult Colorectal Cancer has a robust research portfolio tailored for this unique population. Some examples include:
- Interventional clinical trials
- Use of liquid biopsies to guide treatment decisions
- Generation of patient derived models to understand the differing biology in younger patients
- Impact of diet, lifestyle and the microbiome
- Organ preservation in rectal cancer
- Patient reported outcomes
- Genetic risk factors for cancer
Find clinical trials for colorectal cancer.