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Wellness & Prevention Print

Getting Checked for Colon and Rectal Cancers at Younger Ages

According to a recent study by the American Cancer Society, there has been a sharp rise in colon cancer and rectal cancer in adults in their 20’s and 30’s.  This increase has surprised cancer experts.

The vast majority of newly diagnosed cases (90%) of colon and rectal cancer are in people over 50 years of age. That’s why when you turn 50 years old, doctors recommend you get a colonoscopy to check for early stages of cancer. However, the trends for this older group have been on the decline. Unfortunately the trends for younger people have gone in the opposite direction.

The study didn’t offer any definitive reasons for the rise in colon and rectal cancer among younger adults, but it did offer a list of suspect causes which include:

  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Poor diets;
  • Low fiber consumption

This doesn’t mean younger patients should get colonoscopy screening on a whim. Instead, look for two signs that should cause you to see a doctor:  blood in your stool and change in bowel habits.  And of course it never hurts to have a high fiber diet and remain active when you can.

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