- Residency Program: University of Calgary
Ameer Farooq is a 5th year general surgery resident at the University of Calgary. He obtained his BSc at the University of Alberta and then went on to do medical school at the University of Alberta as well. Between his 3rd and 4th year of general surgery residency, Ameer took a year off to pursue a Masters of Public Health (MPH) at the TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University.
Ameer has always had a broad range of interests. For his MPH project, Ameer spent a month in Georgetown, Guyana, evaluating the outcomes and performing a SWOT analysis of Guyana’s first publicly-funding renal transplant program. During his MPH, he also became very interested in surgical decision-making and behavioural economics. Finally, Ameer is passionate about new avenues for promulgating surgical knowledge. In his role as Associate Digital Editor of the Canadian Journal of Surgery (CJS, https://soundcloud.com/cjs-podcast), he co-founded Cold Steel, the official podcast for CJS. He will continue pursuing his diverse interests as a colorectal fellow at the University of British Columbia in July 2020.
The incidence of non-familial young colorectal cancer (CRC) has been rising over the last 20 years in the Western world. Young patients are defined as those patients that develop CRC under the age of 50. Despite a number of publications demonstrating the increasing incidence of young CRC, little is known about contributing risk factors. In addition, little is known about the outcomes for patients with young CRC.
Ameer, along with his supervisors, performed a population-based analysis of young CRC in Alberta. Using data from the Alberta Cancer Registry, all new diagnoses of young CRC between 2004 to 2015 were captured. Patients with IBD or familial syndromes were excluded using ICD codes. Regression and survival analysis were used to compare the outcomes of young CRC to those over 50 diagnosed with CRC in Alberta.
Interestingly, their data seemed to show a slight rise in the age-adjusted incidence of young CRC between 2004 to 2015, but this was not statistically significant. Young CRC patients were more likely to present with higher pathologically higher stage tumors. Surprisingly, young CRC still seemed to do better than their older counterparts on a stage-by-stage basis. Young CRC patients were more aggressively treated on average than those over 50, with 89.2% of young stage III patients undergoing chemotherapy compared with 67% of those over 50 (p<0.0001). More work still needs to be done to elucidate whether the improved survival was secondary to tumor biology or to more aggressive treatment. In addition, more needs to be done to identify risk factors that might identify high risk young CRC patients.
Ameer is currently working on submitting his findings for publications. His ultimate plan is to perform a prospective cohort study of young CRC patients to identify risk factors, surgical outcomes, as well as patient-reported outcomes (PROs).