Tag Archives: never too young

Colon cancer rates on the rise in young people

Image result for young person at doctor

Listen to your body and be honest with your doctor. Early screening can detect and prevent complications from colon cancer.

As we continue through Colon Cancer Awareness month, our goal is to increase the conversations people have about the disease. Knowing that screenings are by far the most effective way to detect colon cancer early can even work to prevent it altogether.

An unfortunate trend in the fight against colon cancer is a spike in the amount of young people diagnosed. Formerly considered a disease reserved for older men, this new uptick in folks under 40 is disturbing but also mostly unexplained.

“People born in 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer as people born in 1950 faced at the same age,” says CBS New York.

For people of an average risk, the standard age to begin screening for colon cancer is 50. The only problem with that guideline is that younger folks are getting missed, often until it’s too late.

While the medical community struggles to pinpoint the cause of the surge, many speculate that changes in lifestyle and diet are to blame.

“Prime suspects include obesity, inactivity and poor diets,” said researchers from the American Cancer Society.

In other words, the behaviors we know are bad for us, and cause health issues across the board, are the likely culprit in the uptick in colon cancer.

While the statistics are alarming, the overall rates of colon cancer in younger people is still low. But that doesn’t mean there’s no lesson in this – be your own health advocate. Listen to your body and work with your doctor to pinpoint when something is wrong.

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More young people diagnosed with colon cancer

Colon cancer cases are increasing in folks under 50 years of age.

There have been an increasing number of cases of colon cancer in people under 50.

We often think of colon cancer as a disease only older people have to worry about. But lately, there have been reports of more people under 50 being diagnosed with colon cancer.

According to CBS News, one in seven people who have colon cancer are under 50. Most younger people who are diagnosed have a later stage cancer. But there’s good news: the rate of survival without recurrence is also higher in younger folks.

Conflicting views

The current recommendation for colon cancer screenings is to start at age 50. For people with a family history of the disease, it’s a whole decade earlier, at age 40.

A new study is recommending earlier screenings for everyone by lowering the age to 40 or 45 across the board. But many insurance plans don’t cover colonoscopies for people under the recommended age or those without a family history of the disease.

According to Record Searchlight, “Several surgeons who conducted the study said that shows the recommended age for screening needs to be younger than current guidelines.” But many in the medical community are waiting for more conclusive statistics before making that claim.

What you can do

As always, pay attention to your body. If something feels off, tell your doctor. Symptoms of colon cancer aren’t always obvious. They can be as simple as fatigue, bloating, nausea or constipation.

Dr. Suryakanth Gurudu, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic, recommends a less invasive approach, such as a stool sample. “We still don’t have large population-based studies that show cost effectiveness by decreasing the age to 40 years,” says Dr. Gurudu.

The risk of developing colon cancer during your younger years is still low. But if you have a family history or suspicious symptoms, talk to your doctor about your options.

Never Too Young

The Never Too Young (N2Y) coalition works to raise awareness of colon cancer cases in young people. They recognize the problems you can face with your insurance company or other barriers to treatment.

“Too often we hear stories from folks in this group who are facing additional screening and diagnosis hurdles due to their age,” says N2Y.

Visit the Colon Cancer Alliance site for more information.

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Never Too Young for Colon Cancer: Young Survivors Week

Colon cancer doesn't care about your age.

The Colon Cancer Alliance has started the N2Y campaign: Never Too Young for Colon Cancer.

The Colon Cancer Alliance has started the N2Y campaign: Never Too Young for Colon Cancer. Every June, the CCA puts the spotlight on folks under 50 who have been diagnosed with the disease.

Their goal is to push for prevention, early detection and appropriate treatment. The Alliance reports that around 10% of cases in the U.S. are people under 50. They’re also fighting to get the recommended age of screenings to start at 40, especially for those with a family history.

It can be difficult to convince young people to get serious about their risk of colon cancer and getting screened young. But that’s what the Never Too Young campaign wants to change.

“…cancer doesn’t care how old you are. And colon cancer, although considered an older man’s disease, can strike anyone at any time. The hard reality: you’re never too young for colon cancer. That’s why we need to educate ourselves about the risks of this disease now.”

There are lots of ways you can get involved. The Colon Cancer Alliance has volunteer and advocate opportunities, organizations you can donate to, and guidance on programs and events and how to host your own.

Cancer takes too many people as it is – let’s band together with the Colon Cancer Alliance to make sure we do all we can to prevent those losses at such early ages.

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