News Latest Information


Colon Cancer Rates Are Rising in Younger People

Colon Cancer Younger People

A new report released by the American Cancer Society in March 2023 shows a diagnosis of colorectal cancer is shifting to a younger population and the cancer is often later-stage. Of people that are newly diagnosed, 20% are under the age of 55. Nearly 60% of patients are also being diagnosed with more advanced cancer. Both of these statistics are alarming.

There is good news in the report – the overall rate of colorectal cancer is decreasing, thanks in large part to people over 50 getting colonoscopies as recommended. Death rates overall have also dropped. Unfortunately, while the current recommendation for colon cancer screening is 45, many people in that age group haven’t started. The study authors indicated that the data “foreshadows less favorable trends ahead” and the rising death rates in the younger age group could get worse if colon cancer screening recommendations are started at age 45.

Rebecca Siegel, senior scientific director at the American Cancer Society and the lead author of the report stated: “We know rates are increasing in young people, but it’s alarming to see how rapidly the whole patient population is shifting younger, despite shrinking numbers in the overall population. The trend toward more advanced disease in people of all ages is also surprising and should motivate everyone 45 and older to get screened.”

Some of the other findings of the report include:

  • Rates of colon cancer have increased by 2 percent each year in people under 50.
  • Death rates in people under 50 have increased by 1 percent each year.
  • When patients are diagnosed, more of them have cancer that has metastasized, or spread, beyond the colon.
  • Men are at a higher risk of colorectal cancer than women.
  • Indigenous Alaskans, Native Americans, and Blacks are disproportionately affected.

All of these statistics taken together show that there is a lot of work to do to change the trends. The typical lifestyle of Americans is full of risk factors for developing colon cancer, like smoking, eating too many processed foods and not enough fiber, leading a sedentary lifestyle, or being obese. This may be one explanation as to why colon cancer rates are rising in younger people.

Currently, colonoscopy remains the gold standard in diagnosing colon cancer early or preventing it entirely. Everyone should get their first colonoscopy at the age of 45 – it’s the best way to begin to reverse these alarming trends.

Visit Our New Patient Portal

If you have not registered with the new gPortal yet please select the Register/Learn More button for instructions on registering.

Please note that your current /old patient portal credentials will become inactive after August 31, 2022, so update your account today to avoid any disruption in accessibility.

© 2024 Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio. Accredited by the Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
San Antonio Website Design & Development - Backyard Studios