Colorectal Cancer on the Rise Among Younger Adults

The rate of colorectal cancer is rising among young adults, and because it’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, let’s talk about it! While the rates for many cancers are on the decline, the rate of colorectal cancer has increased by 2% per year for people under the age of 50 in the past 20 years. While experts aren’t sure why so many more young people get colorectal cancer, they suspect changing dietary habits, reduced exercise levels, and the rise in obesity contribute to this troubling trend. Given these circumstances, it’s critical for younger adults to understand colon cancer prevention and the importance of early detection.

The increasing rate of colorectal cancer among younger adults has prompted health experts to now recommend colorectal cancer screenings (colonoscopies) to start at age 45 for individuals with an average risk profile, decreasing from the former benchmark of age 50. In addition to screening, taking preventive measures is also important. These steps include embracing a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; maintaining a healthy weight; staying active; and steering clear of smoking and excessive drinking. Young people should also know and look out for colorectal cancer symptoms, like rectal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, and ongoing changes in bowel habits. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please don’t brush it off or procrastinate. See your doctor ASAP because early detection can be lifesaving.

Learn about cancer prevention by joining AAHP’s Cancer Education chat on Fridays at 1:30pm. Register/join here:

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