Colorectal Cancer Is on the Rise in Young Adults: What You Need To Know 

For those who may have never heard of young-onset colorectal cancer, it refers to someone diagnosed with colorectal cancer before age 50. Colorectal cancer is a disease that adversely affects the colon, the longest part of the large intestine, or the rectum, the last few inches of the large intestine just before the anus. Sometimes, it can affect both at the same time. To say this form of cancer is catching many young and middle-aged adults by surprise would be a gross understatement. According to a study published by the American Cancer Society, individuals aged 45 to 49 account for roughly 40% of all colorectal cancer cases in the U.S. It is worth noting that the rise in men and women being diagnosed with colorectal cancer didn’t just start; it has been going on for some time. The same American Cancer Society study found that the proportion of colorectal cancer diagnosed in people under 55 doubled between 1995 and 2019. Learn more about colorectal cancer and the signs you should look out for below.

Why Are More Adults Being Diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer Before Age 50?

As of the writing of this article, the medical and scientific communities do not know why more people are getting diagnosed with colorectal cancer before age 50. But both groups agree poor diet and lack of physical activity might be factors that are contributing to it.

While more research is needed to determine why so many people are getting diagnosed with colorectal cancer, a few things are certain as of the writing of this article. Specific individuals are more likely to develop colorectal cancer early than others. According to a study from UC Davis, individuals born between 1981 and 1999 are twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease than someone born in 1950. Second, individuals under age 55 are about 60% more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage colorectal cancer than older adults. That means the likelihood of them beating the disease will be much lower.

Early Signs of Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer

If found early, the 5-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is around 91%. With that in mind, if you’re experiencing symptoms typical of colorectal cancer, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible. Common colorectal cancer symptoms that usually present themselves include the following:

  • Anemia
  • Bloating
  • Bloody stool
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Passing narrower or thinner than usual stool
  • Tenesmus
  • Unintended weight loss

When Should I Screen for Colorectal Cancer?

In summary, young-onset colorectal cancer is on the rise. If you are age 45 or older, it is recommended that you start screening for colon cancer. It is also important to screen for colon cancer if you are experiencing any of the symptoms detailed in this article.

Schedule an Appointment

Schedule a colonoscopy today by calling The Centers for Gastroenterology in Fort Collins, Colorado, at 970-207-9773. We look forward to providing you with high-quality care today.