Be aware: colon cancer is on the rise in young adults.

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I am hoping this study is a must read for all of the physicians in this country.  I find it as a must read for myself as I am smack in the middle of the age group that has shown colon cancer as a diagnosis with numbers that have nearly doubled.   I fear many will be misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all, until it is too late.  That being said, I found this study too important not to post.

New diagnoses of colon and rectal cancers are on the rise among young adults while the numbers are falling among people who are older, according to a new study.  If the trends continue, by 2030 the number of colon and rectal cancer cases will roughly double among people between the ages of 20 and 34 years old and grow by 28 percent to 46 percent for people ages 35 to 49 years, researchers found.   What this study shows is that doctors cannot assume that a younger person isn’t likely to have colorectal cancer.  If physicians evaluate younger people who have symptoms commonly tied to colon and rectal cancers, hopefully those patients can get an earlier diagnosis to improve outcomes.

The researchers can’t say why more colon and rectal cancers are being diagnosed among younger people, but it could be attributed to less healthy lifestyles; for example, being obese, not exercising and having a poor diet.

Bailey said doctors and patients may not consider colon cancer at first, which would also explain the greater number of advanced cancers among young people.  They can’t rule out other influences that could lead to increased rates of cancer, however.

Colon cancer remains the third most common cancer in the United States. In 2013, nearly 143,000 Americans were diagnosed with colon cancer and there were nearly 51,000 deaths from the disease, according to background information in the study.

Physicians recommend people should still watch for symptoms. Those include bloody stools, unexplained weight loss and changes in bowel movements.  The researchers hope this is a wakeup call for people to shift to more healthy diets.  Also, doctors should be more aggressive investigating reports of minor rectal bleeding in younger adults, which can sometimes be dismissed as hemorrhoids but in fact can indicate colorectal cancer.

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