Colorectal Cancer on the Rise in Young
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest type of cancer, and 52,000 more deaths are expected in 2023. Even as older adults undergo regular screenings, should younger adults do the same?
Sonia Richard, 31, first noticed her colon cancer symptoms at 27.
“I’m bleeding, I’m having bloody stool, stomachaches, fatigue, weight loss. I went to four different doctors and nobody said it was cancer, it was always, ‘You’re too young to have cancer.’,” Richard recalls.
A recent cancer study showed people between ages 20 and 49 show the steepest increase in late-stage, early-onset colorectal cancer.
Sonia says, “After my colonoscopy, it turned out, I had stage three C rectal cancer.”
Oncologist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Cathy Eng, MD, FACP, explains, “I’m seeing patients in my clinic that are 20 years old, 30 years old. So, these are young individuals that may have just graduated from college, graduated from grad school, embarking on some other aspect of their life, or may be in school or starting a family.”
Because early-onset is often overlooked, cancer can metastasize. Experts now advise to undergo colonoscopies by age 45 for patients not at high risk. The disease during this time is likely just pre-cancerous polyps.
“You know your body better than anybody else, and if something feels off, push for answers,” Richard emphasizes.
Dr. Eng is currently involved in a breakthrough study of a drug increasing survival rates in metastatic cancer that has shown to lower the death rate by 34 percent. But the real key to survival is finding cancer in the pre-malignant stage, which means additional testing.
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