Colon Cancer

The Alarming Rise of Colon Cancer in Younger Individuals: What You Need to Know

The detection of colon cancer in younger individuals has been increasing in recent years, making it a growing concern in gastroenterology. Colorectal cancer (colon cancer or bowel cancer), is now the second leading cause of cancer death in the US. Studies show that the proportion of colorectal cancer cases in individuals under the age of 55 has almost doubled between 1995 and 2019, from 11% to 20%, indicating that more and more young people are being diagnosed with this disease. Unfortunately, most cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, which makes treatment more challenging.

Photo by Jane Doan

While the reason for this rise in colon cancer rates among younger individuals is not yet fully understood, certain lifestyle choices, such as a diet high in processed foods, lack of physical activity, and being overweight or obese, may contribute to it. However, researchers believe that environmental toxins, antibiotics, and stress may also be contributing factors. Although genetics can increase a person’s risk of developing colon cancer, family history accounts for only about 25% of cases in young people.

It is important for younger adults to be aware that colorectal cancer can affect them and not dismiss early symptoms as something else. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, or unexplained weight loss should not be ignored. While these symptoms may be caused by other conditions, they can also be signs of colorectal cancer. If you experience these or other digestive symptoms, or if you are worried about your risk of colon cancer, it is advisable to make an appointment with me to discuss your concerns and get the appropriate screening and treatment. By taking control of your digestive health and being proactive, you can reduce your risk of colon cancer and ensure early detection and effective treatment if necessary.

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