Colorectal Cancer Deaths of Young Adults Will Rise
In a recent study released in the Annals of Oncology, an alarming trend is predicted: colorectal cancer deaths in Gen Xers and Millenials will jump by 39% in 2024.
Even though the overall picture is looking better when it comes to colorectal cancer, it’s a more disheartening picture for younger people (ages 25 – 49). The increase is attributed to rising rates of obesity, alcohol consumption, and sedentary lifestyles.
While the study examined the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), the trends are mirrored here in the United States. A publication released by the American Cancer Society in March 2023 highlighted similar concerns – younger people are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer at an advanced stage.
Currently, the recommended age to begin colon cancer screenings is age 45, which was lowered from 50 due to data like this. Colonoscopy is the gold standard screening test, and it’s the first step in lowering the predicted death rates.
But having a colonoscopy at 45 doesn’t account for those younger than that. Reducing risk and seeking care at the first sign of a problem are vital in those cases.
You can lower the risk of colon cancer by practicing healthy lifestyle habits, such as:
- Eating lots of whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits.
- Exercising regularly.
- Losing weight if you are significantly overweight or obese.
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding alcohol.
Additionally, remain vigilant about signs of colon cancer and seek input from a doctor if you notice any of them. Colon cancer often has no symptoms early on. Once symptoms appear, it can mean the cancer is more advanced. Symptoms of colon cancer can include:
- Blood in stool
- Black, narrow, pencil-thin, or ribbon stools
- Change in bowel habits like more diarrhea or more constipation
- Weigh loss without trying
- Weakness and fatigue
The current trends are alarming, but they don’t have to continue that way. Take charge of your health now to help improve the statistics.
And if you’re 45 or older, it’s time for your first colonoscopy – schedule an appointment today!