New scientific research from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reveals that colorectal cancer is on the rise among individuals born after 1990. In fact, the organization reported that those born around 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer—compared with adults born around 1950. This is especially surprising since the rates of colorectal cancer in older adults have been declining for decades.
So why are younger people getting colorectal cancer? According to Lisa Ganjhu, an associate professor from NYU Langone Medical Center, “It could be related to stress, or diet or other behaviors; more research is being done to help us understand the rise.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that colorectal cancer is currently the third leading cause of cancer death among women. However, it’s also one of the most preventable types of cancer. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention if you experience any of the symptoms commonly associated with colorectal cancer, regardless of your age.
According to the American Cancer Society, the following are the most prevalent symptoms of colorectal cancer:
- Changes in bowel habits that last for more than a few days; these may include constipation, diarrhea or a narrowing of the stool
- Persistent urges to have a bowel movement that are not relieved by doing so
- Rectal bleeding
- Dark stools or blood in the stool
- Pain or cramping in the abdomen
- Unintended weight loss
- Fatigue and weakness
To prevent colorectal cancer, people of all ages should practice healthy eating, reduce stress and engage in an active lifestyle. To enable early detection and optimize patient outcomes, the Journal of the American Cancer Institute suggests starting colorectal screening in patients under age 50 who have a family history of colon or rectal cancer. If you think you may have colorectal cancer, your AOA provider can help you get a referral to a gastroenterology doctor.
- American Cancer Society
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Journal of the National Cancer Institute
- New York Times
- Women’s Health
To learn more about gastroenterology referrals and other health services, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.