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More and more young people are being diagnosed with colon cancer; here's what to do

Posted at 8:53 AM, Feb 20, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-20 10:53:25-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — More and more young people are being diagnosed with colon cancer. That’s according to the American Cancer Society.

 Although cancer deaths in the U.S. are declining, colon and rectal cancers are now the leading cause of cancer deaths for adult men under the age of 50 in the U.S. It’s also the second leading cause of cancer deaths for younger women in the same age group. This is according to a studydone by the American Cancer Society. I spoke with Dr. Christopher Taylor, M.D. He is the director of colorectal surgery at Penrose Hospital. He tells me over the past five years, he has seen younger people diagnosed with colon cancer.

“We are seeing younger and younger patients, just in my practice alone, I have several patients in their thirties who I’ve treated and even a few in their twenties,” said Dr. Taylor.

“Most of these patients present with rectal bleeding. And given their age they attribute it to things like hemorrhoids or something that’s not cancer. Because of that they actually present in a delayed fashion and usually they have a later stage of cancer which means a worse prognosis,” said Dr. Taylor.

 So, what are the symptoms of colon cancer? Colon cancer symptoms include a change in bowel habits, blood in or on your stool, rectal bleeding with bright red blood, weight loss, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and weakness.

Dr. Taylor recommends people get screenings as soon as they can. The American Cancer Society says you can start getting screened at age 45. But if you’re like me, and a relative had it, you can go 10 years before that relative was diagnosed. It’s best to call your insurance company to see if preventative care, including screenings, is covered.


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