Colon carcinoma in the adolescent Academic Article uri icon


  • Carcinoma of the colon in the adolescent, although an uncommon disease, is usually virulent and has a poorer prognosis than in older patients. We report three cases of colon cancer in youngsters less than 19 years old. Two of them, who were diagnosed and treated early, are presently considered cured; the third died 3 months after surgery. All underwent surgery and adjuvant therapy. In an extensive review of the literature, we found a consensus as to the rarity, virulence and poor prognosis of colon cancer in the younger population. The commonest histological pattern is an aggressive, mucin-producing adenocarcinoma. Predisposing conditions include familial polyposis coli and ulcerative colitis. We also found that a low socioeconomic status could be a predisposing factor. Survival obviously depends on the extent of the disease at diagnosis, and the shorter the delay in diagnosis, the better the prognosis. The therapeutic approach must be aggresive in both surgery and adjuvant therapy; the goal must be early diagnosis, the reward being a possibility of cure, as seen in two of our three cases.

publication date

  • August 1, 1997