Though colon cancer remains one of the leading causes of cancer death in America, the good news is the overall rates have been declining among patients who are over 50 years old. But recent studies, including one in the February 2017 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, have shown a rise in colorectal cancer among patients between 20 and 30 years old.
And the actual diagnosis is just part of the problem. “Another issue is these younger patients with colorectal cancer run the risk of getting diagnosed later in the course of their disease when the cancer may be untreatable,” Cedrek McFadden, M.D., double board certified colorectal surgeon and clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, said in an interview with The Cheat Sheet. “This happens because doctors don’t typically consider colorectal cancers high in their diagnosis for symptoms at such a young age.” Instead, they may assume symptoms may be related to hemorrhoids.
Most people are supposed to start screenings around age 50, however, several risk factors may encourage your doctor to recommend you start earlier. Here are eight colon cancer risks to keep on your radar.