Colorectal Cancer Rates Rise Among Younger People

September 1, 2020
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The death of Chadwick Boseman caught many by surprise as the actor who played Jackie Brown, Thurgood Marshall, James Brown and Marvel's Black Panther was just 43-years old when he died of colon cancer. The disease was diagnosed at stage three in 2016 and even with chemotherapy and surgeries, it advanced to stage 4 ultimately claiming his life. He is part of a growing number of people in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s who are diagnosed with the disease; often at much later stages than when the same diagnosis is made in older adults and doctors don't know why. Of the 135,000 Americans expected to be diagnosed with colon cancer, 18,000 will be under the age of 50. At the same time, neither younger adults nor their healthcare providers are actively looking for colon cancer. For that reason, the American Cancer Society lowered its recommended age at which adults should begin receiving routine colorectal cancer screenings from 50 to 45. Colorectal cancer screening includes tests that look for blood or DNA in stool and range from a CT colonography, which is known as virtual colonoscopy and uses X-rays to visualize the colon to a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, which is a physical examination of the lower or entire colon. Talk to your doctor about getting screened and keep an eye on some symptoms of colorectal cancer. They include severe cramping and pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, anemia (low red blood cell count), and/or unintended weight loss. Although in most cases people who have these symptoms do not have cancer, it’s best to notify your doctor for their recommendation.

SOURCE: Popular Science

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