Cancer on the Rise in Younger Adults

Group of doctors posing at their desk wearing breast cancer awareness ribbon

 The number of younger adults being diagnosed with colon cancer is on the rise, according to a recent study by the American Cancer Society. People born in 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer as people the same age who were born in the 50’s. Colon cancer in a younger adult sometimes is attributed to inheritance or other risk factors, such as having inflammatory bowel disease or ulcerative colitis (Crohn’s Disease). For whatever reason, the number of young adults being diagnosed keeps climbing.

Colon cancer diagnosis in people under 50 is still uncommon (routine screenings are recommended at age 50) but it is the upward trend that disturbs physicians. As a result, in a younger person who isn’t routinely screened, a colon cancer diagnosis is more often found in late-advanced stages. The average delay in young adults getting checked is six months from the time they actually start noticing symptoms. Even though overall rates have dropped, this type of cancer is still the third leading cause of cancer in the U.S. Individuals should pay attention to their bowel’s and look for changes, like blood in your bowels or rectal bleeding. This should be checked immediately by your primary physician.

Being “ahead of the game” is important. Know your family history and notify your physician if colon cancer is in your family. Watch for the symptoms mentioned above and get an examination if you experience any one of these-don’t wait. Lastly, maintain a healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise regularly. Colon cancer is preventable, and the most important factor when it comes to prevention is awareness of symptoms.