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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dooreck with Zoeya Gordon

Rise of Colorectal Cancer in Younger Individuals

Updated: Jul 24, 2023


Colon and colorectal cancer, gastroenterology, colonoscopy doctor, colonoscopy, gastroenterology services, gastro doctor, gi doctor, gastroenterologist
There is a rise in colorectal cancer in younger individuals.

What is colorectal cancer?


Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the colon or the rectum. The colon and rectum comprise the large intestine, the final part of the digestive system. When cells in the colon or rectum begin to grow out of control, they can form a tumor, which may then become cancerous.


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Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the colon or the rectum.

Colon and colorectal cancer, gastroenterology, colonoscopy doctor, colonoscopy, gastroenterology services, gastro doctor, gi doctor, gastroenterologist

What are the symptoms?


Symptoms of colorectal cancer vary depending on the location and size of the tumor. Some common symptoms include changes in bowel habits or patterns, blood in the stool, abdominal pain or cramping, weakness or fatigue, and unexplained weight loss. However, many people with early-stage colorectal cancer may not have any symptoms.


Colorectal cancer trends


Colorectal cancer is typically seen in those over 50, but there has been a noticeable increase in cases among younger individuals in recent years.


According to the American Cancer Society, cases of colorectal cancer have risen by approximately 2% each year in people under the age of 50 since the mid-90s. This trend is alarming, as colorectal cancer is one of the most deadly cancers.

Risk factors

Some of these include unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles that lead to obesity, which is a contributing factor in the development of colorectal cancer. Other factors include environmental exposure to toxins, certain medical conditions like Crohn's and Colitis, and hereditary factors.


Prevention


The rising rate of colorectal cancer in younger individuals underscores the importance of early detection and prevention. Individuals of all ages need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat a balanced diet with plenty of fiber, and exercise regularly. It is also crucial to get screened for colorectal cancer regularly.


The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals with an average risk of developing colorectal cancer begin regular screenings at the age of 45. For those with a higher risk, such as those with a family history of the disease, screening should begin even earlier.

Raising awareness

The increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in younger individuals is concerning. Increasing awareness of risk factors and symptoms of colon cancer in younger populations and facilitating access to colon cancer screening for people at higher risk, such as those with a family history of the disease, could drastically help reduce incidences of cancer.


Colon and colorectal cancer, gastroenterology, colonoscopy doctor, colonoscopy, gastroenterology services, gastro doctor, gi doctor, gastroenterologist

Ways to lower your risk for colorectal cancer


  • Regular screenings

  • Healthy diet

  • Regular exercise

  • No smoking

  • Reduce alcohol consumption


Below is an educational video on the rise of colorectal cancer in younger people from the Mayo Clinic.




Important Facts


  1. Younger individuals are often diagnosed at later stages of colorectal cancer because screening is typically not recommended until age 50. This leads to a missed opportunity for early detection and treatment.

  2. Common risk factors for colorectal cancer in younger individuals include a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, and a diet high in red and processed meats.

  3. Colorectal cancer in younger individuals is often diagnosed at more advanced stages, and overall survival rates are often lower in younger patients compared to older patients.

  4. Early detection and proper management can significantly increase treatment outcomes in younger individuals.

Statistics

The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that at the beginning of 2023, there has been a significant increase in colorectal cancer diagnoses in patients under the age of 55. In 2019, 20% of diagnoses were among individuals under 55 years of age, which is double the rate in 1995. The ACS predicts that in 2023, an estimated 19,550 individuals under 50 will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, leading to 3,750 deaths.


Summary


The rising incidence of colorectal cancer among young adults should be a wake-up call for healthcare providers, public health professionals, and the general public to spread awareness of the disease and encourage early detection and appropriate management of at-risk individuals. The best action is to live a healthy lifestyle, remain vigilant about early detection, and speak proactively to your healthcare provider about your risk factors.

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I eat a high-fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🌱 🌾 🌿"

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gastroenterology | colonoscopy doctor | colonoscopy and gastroenterology services | gastro doctor | gi doctor | gastrointestinal diagnostic centers | public health

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