Colorectal Cancer: No Longer An “Old People” Disease

April 21, 2017
Colorectal Cancer: No Longer An “Old People” Disease

Colon cancer and rectal cancer have traditionally been viewed as diseases that mainly affect older people - the American Cancer Society reports that the median age at diagnosis for colon cancer is 68 in men and 72 in women; for rectal cancer it is age 63 for both men and women. Those numbers may make it easy for young men and women to dismiss it since they don’t fall into the typical age group, but a new study is now warning them that they’re not guaranteed to be in the safe zone due to their age. 

What Is New Research Indicating?

The American Cancer Society released a study recently that analyzed the cases of colorectal cancer in every generation since 1950. According to the study, there has been a 1-2% increase in colon cancer cases in ages 20-39 and .5-1% increase in ages 40-54, with a 3% rectal cancer increase in ages 20-39 and 2% increase in ages 40-54. Although these numbers may seem small, it’s estimated that it will amount to roughly 13,500 new cases of colorectal cancer in the under 50 age group this year. One of the most alarming findings of this study in addition to the rise in a previously largely unaffected age group, was that the cases that doctors are seeing are at more advanced stages, making treatment more challenging. Since many doctors don’t expect to diagnose colon cancer in an otherwise healthy young person, they often write it off as something else or don’t offer preventative screening options to these patients.

When Should You Call Your Doctor

GI health is an important thing to monitor, which is what the team at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants is here to help with. It’s important to do some family history research to understand if members of your family have suffered from colorectal cancer. If you observe a change in bowel habits that last more than a few days, blood in your stool, cramping and abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, or rectal bleeding, make an appointment with Texas Digestive Disease Consultants at one of our locations in your area. We can determine a diagnosis and course of treatment for your GI issues and order proper screening and tests to help you in the fight against colorectal cancers.  

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