An unprecedented number of younger adults are becoming diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Whereas the older population had been the main group at risk, now we are seeing some startling changes. Colorectal cancer is rising among young adults and here’s what young people should know.
In the last twenty years, the diagnosis of colon cancer in adults fifty years and older has fallen. The American Cancer Society believes this is due to the drumbeat of the importance of getting screened. At the same time, it is rising in those who are younger.
Overall the colorectal cancer rate declined 3.6% annually among those 55 and older and increased by 2% annually in the same period among those under 55.
Colorectal cancer is not just a disease for old people any more. It is believed that 12% of cases in 2020 will be in adults under age 50.
Know The Symptoms
Sometimes the signs of colorectal cancer overlap with other less serious conditions and can be overlooked or dismissed.
Signs of colon cancer include the following:
- Blood in your stool
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Bloated stomach
- Change in bowel habits and shape of stool
- Weight loss
- Decreased appetite
Do not ignore any of these signs, and seek treatment from your physician with any combination.
Be Aware Of The Risk Factors For Colorectal Cancer
Many of the risk factors for younger adults are similar to those of older adults. These risk factors make you more vulnerable to the disease.
African Americans are more at risk to get colon cancer at a younger age than non-Hispanic whites. American natives and Alaskan natives are more at risk also.
In addition, diet plays a part. Those with a diet high in fats and processed meat and low in fruits and vegetables are more susceptible.
If you are overweight or obese, smoke, and do minimal to no exercise, you put yourself at risk.
Researchers have found that those with chronic conditions like IBS, diabetes, and Crohn’s disease which all cause inflammation put you at higher risk to develop colon cancer at a younger age.
If you have family members who had colon cancer, this puts you at a higher risk.
Take Control Of Your Health
Pay attention. Be aware of the symptoms, know your personal risk factors, and get into the habit of looking at your stool. If you have any of the risk factors, begin screening at age 45 or earlier.
Getting screened early can save your life. When any cancer is smaller, it most likely has not spread, and it is easier to treat.
Contact Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging as soon as possible if you have any suspicious symptoms.