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What Gen X, Millennials Need To Know About Increasing Risk For Colorectal Cancer

17 March 2017, 10:35 am EDT By Athena Chan Tech Times
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The number of Gen X and Millennials getting diagnosed with colorectal cancer is sharply increasing. Here are some things that doctors want younger people to know and do about it.  ( Adam Berry | Getty Images )

It is not uncommon for younger people to believe that cancers such as colon and rectal cancers afflict mostly older individuals.

Recent study, however, has shown that the number of Gen X and millennials diagnosed with this disease each year is increasing as the number decreases for adults over the age of 50.

While the main reason for the increase in diagnosis for Gen X and millennials is relatively unknown, it is possible that the consistent checkups of older adults give them the advantage of early detection and prevention.

Especially with this particular type of cancer, colorectal cancer is a fairly quiet form of cancer with very subtle signs and symptoms that many, even doctors, could simply overlook or disregard as hemorrhoids or other less serious disease.

Doctors do not want younger people to panic, especially since the frequency of this disease is still relatively low. However, they do have a few words that younger people may want to keep in mind.

Constant Vigilance

Symptoms of colorectal cancer also do not usually show until its later stages, which is why many who are diagnosed are already in stage 3 or 4. With symptoms such as a change in bowel movement, rectal bleeding, unintended weight loss, abdominal cramping, and fatigue, it's easy to see why not many early detections are done for colorectal cancer.

However, despite the grim numbers, doctors do not believe that younger people should not panic. Instead, they are advised to be vigilant both on the part of the patient and the doctors. That's not saying that any small symptom should be taken as a symptom of cancer, but both doctor and patient should be more cautious in immediately ruling out cancer.

Find A Trusted Doctor

Doctors suggest finding a physician whom you trust and can establish a relationship with. This way, you won't be embarrassed to talk about symptoms that you think may be a reason to worry about.

Family History Check

Check your family history. Some medical conditions, including colorectal cancer, may be traced back through your family history. Having a family member diagnosed in the past could increase your chances of having it as well. That way, you will be more aware of your risks and take better care of your body.

Be Aware Of Your Body

Paying closer attention to your body is an important part of taking care of yourself. An awareness of what's normal for your body can help you to determine when something just isn't quite right. That includes bowel movement and sudden unexpected changes such as weight loss. This way, it will be easier to point out when something in your body is off its balance.

That All-Important Healthy Lifestyle

Yes, you've heard it before, but it seems doctors will never get tired of saying it. A diet composed purely of red meat and processed food increases the risks for many diseases including colorectal cancer. Keeping your weight at a healthy balance, reducing vices, and incorporating fruits, grains, and vegetables into your diet can protect you against colorectal cancer, among others.

Regular Screenings

In the past, it was people over the age of 50 that was recommended to get regular screenings for symptoms of cancer. Now, however, you may want to take a trip to the doctor's clinic. Again, that's not saying that you should be paranoid about having colorectal cancer, but constant vigilance and early detection are important tools in ensuring a long and healthy life.

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