Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. The majority of colon cancer can be prevented with proper screening, early detection and removal of polyps. Screening, specifically via colonoscopy, helps prevent cancer by finding pre-cancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.
Fortunately, there is evidence from national cancer registry data bases that show a significant decline in colon cancer rates in adults age 50 and over. Specifically, the American Cancer Society released data in 2014 showing that colon cancer incidence rates have dropped 30% in the U.S. among adults 50 years and older over the past three decades. The major reason for the decreased incidence is due to an increase in screening efforts.
While we know we are making progress in decreasing the incidence of colorectal cancer in adults over age fifty, unfortunately this is not the case for younger adults. The incidence of colorectal cancer in people under the age of 50 has been steadily increasing at a rate of 2.1% per year from 1992-2012. Researchers are trying to understand why this is happening, and there are likely both behavioral and environmental factors contributing to this trend.
It is important to be informed at any age about colon cancer. If you are under 50, here’s some helpful information about colon cancer prevention.
Age to Begin Colon Cancer Screening
Most people are recommended to begin screening for colon cancer at age 50. However, some people may need to be screened sooner:
“When to begin screening” is an important discussion to have with your physician. Be sure to share your family history and personal medical history during this discussion.
Be Aware of Colon Cancer Symptoms
The majority of patients with colon cancer, especially those under age fifty, develop new symptoms. However, some patients are busy or think new symptoms aren’t significant and don’t initially discuss these symptoms with their physician. It is important to pay close attention to your body, and confer you’re your physician if you develop gastrointestinal or abdominal symptoms. Some explains of these symptoms include:
Steps to Lower Your Colon Cancer Risk
No matter how old you are, you can focus on lowering your risk for colon cancer by following these guidelines:
Contact us today if you would like to discuss your colon cancer risk with a physician.