Scientists say more adults below the age of 50 are receiving colorectal cancer diagnosis today than that of five decades ago. When younger patients receive the diagnosis, the disease is more likely in stage three or four.
People under 50 make up 12 percent of colorectal patients. However, the numbers spike to 13.9 percent among African Americans and 18.9 percent among Hispanic populations.
On average, those in urban areas are more likely to receive the diagnosis, with the disease at a younger age, as were those with the highest incomes.
Because of the lack of screening, younger patients are more likely to present with and die of advanced disease.
Last year, concerns around climbing levels of colorectal cancer in those under 50 led the American Cancer Society to update their guidelines. They will now start screenings for the disease at 45 years old.
Dr. Boone Goodgame states that several studies have shown that the rates of colorectal cancer in younger adults have risen slowly. More so in the US since the 1970s. However, for practicing physicians, it feels like they are seeing more and more young people with colorectal cancer.
Guidelines recommend colon cancer screening beginning at 50 until just last year. Now many guidelines do recommend testing at age 45. However, most physicians and patients don’t appear to be following those recommendations.
More and More Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis In Young Adults
Because the number of colorectal cancer cases from inherited causes is much higher in younger individuals, it is unknown whether screening for sporadic cases in a group with such low disease rate can result in a favorable balance of harms and benefits.
“It is therefore imperative that the various hypotheses for increasing colorectal cancer incidence among people younger than 50 be rigorously tested to determine if changing the current screening age in people who are not at increased familial risk represents the most appropriate public health response.”
Colorectal cancer may not cause any symptoms at first. However, as the disease progresses, a person may find blood in their feces. Also, they may experience stomach pains and cramps, as well as unexplained weight loss.
This form of cancer usually starts as a precancerous polyp, or growth, in the colon or rectum. A diet that is low in animal fat and rich in fruit and vegetables is recommended by the CDC. Also, more whole grains to cut the risk of developing the condition potentially.