The American Cancer Society is now urging people not to wait until they are 50 to get their colon checked. The organization's new guidelines suggest that people should get screened for colon cancer in their 40s.
The Alarming Rise In Colon Cancer Cases
The ACS announced this new guideline on Wednesday, May 30, stating that extensive analysis shows earlier screenings could help save lives. This follows the alarming rise in young adults becoming at risk of getting colon cancer.
A recent study shows that adults born around the year of 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer than those born around 1950.
Within the past two decades, experts saw a decrease in colon cancer among adults over the age of 54. Experts did note that since 1994, there has been a 51 percent increase in this disease among people under the age of 50, and the death rate began to increase as well.
The racial groups who were mostly at risk of getting this illness were African-Americans and Alaska Natives. People whose family members have a history of colon cancer were also at risk of getting it.
Certain health experts have begun to welcome the new guidelines and they feel that the age 45 "makes sense." George Chang, professor of surgical oncology and health services research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, noted that he has seen more young patients, and that the new rise in colon cancer could be linked to obesity, consumption of processed foods, and not enough exercise. Chang stated that younger adults are now at risk of getting this disease.
Other experts feel that the new guidelines might "capture a population risk" but did agree that the rising incidence of colon cancer is indeed alarming. They continued that anyone under the age of 45 years old that may be experiencing the symptoms of this disease should seek medical help immediately.
The guidelines were published in the CA: A Cancer Journal For Clinicians.
Colon cancer is the fourth most common cancer to be diagnosed among adults in the United States. The ACS has estimated that in 2018, more than 97,000 Americans would be diagnosed with colon cancer and 50,000 people may die from it.
Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include diarrhea or constipation that last for more than a few days, a change in bowel movements, rectal bleeding, and abdominal pain.