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Young Adults Face Rising Colorectal Cancer Rates: Challenges, Stories, and Hope for Early Detection

Over the past few decades, young individuals have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, including colon and rectal cancer. The American Cancer Society reported 20% colorectal cancer among under-55s in 2019, up from 11% in 1995. Young people under 50 are expected to account for 19,550 new cases in 2024, up from 14,200 in 2017. Obesity, bad diets, and sedentary lifestyles may contribute to the growth of youth colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer statistics, 2023 (Photo: ACS Journal)

Challenges, Late Diagnosis, and Hope for Better Awareness

Five people in their 20s or 30s described their colorectal cancer diagnosis and the challenges they experienced. Because of their age, many overlooked early warning signs or had their worries rejected by doctors. Younger colorectal cancer patients typically go untreated until advanced, lowering their survival chances. Lack of screenings, unwillingness to address gastrointestinal disorders, and downplaying symptoms make diagnosing young people difficult.

Researchers and doctors are trying to understand why young people are getting colorectal cancer. Although increasing screenings are not the main culprit, ultra-processed meals, sedentary lifestyles, and gut microbiomes may be. Young adults have a greater probability of left-sided colon cancer and worse survival rates than older people. These differences suggest an unidentified biological change in the illness.

Colorectal cancer in the 20s and 30s has a major influence on patients. Most of those questioned had tumor removal surgeries, with differences in chemotherapy and radiation. Colorectal cancer can cause reproductive issues, food anxiety, and ongoing health issues that continue after diagnosis. Early identification and care enhance results for younger people who have trouble detecting and treating symptoms.

READ ALSO: People who got colon cancer in their 20s or 30s describe what it was like and the signs that were ignored

Awareness and early management may improve outcomes for young individuals with colorectal cancer, despite the rise in incidence. With more than half of colorectal cancer cases under 50, identifying and tackling these age-specific difficulties and variables is crucial. Parents of colorectal cancer victims emphasize the significance of listening to one’s body, getting medical treatment for unexpected symptoms, and pressing for comprehensive exams.

Colorectal cancer stories show the need for awareness, education, and proactive treatment to address this worrying development among young individuals. Better results and less impact on younger people are possible with early identification, timely screenings, and a better understanding of colorectal cancer risk factors.

READ ALSO: American Cancer Society Releases New Colorectal Cancer Statistics; Rapid Shifts to More Advanced Disease and Younger People

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