Colorectal Cancer Rates Skyrocket Among Young People

Reported by Ishita Dixit

Recent studies have sent shockwaves through the medical community, revealing a startling trend: colorectal cancer, once thought of as an affliction primarily affecting the elderly, is increasingly striking younger individuals. The findings of a new study, set to be presented at Digestive Disease Week 2024 in Washington, DC, paint a troubling picture of rising colon cancer rates among teenagers and young adults.

What are my chances of getting colon cancer at a young age? – Deseret News

From 1999 to 2020, the incidence of colorectal cancer surged dramatically among adolescents aged 15 to 19, with rates soaring by a staggering 333%. Even more alarming is the revelation that children aged 10 to 14 have experienced a fivefold increase in colorectal cancer rates, while young adults aged 20 to 24 have seen a nearly twofold rise.

Lead researcher Dr. Islam Mohamed emphasizes that colorectal cancer is no longer confined to the elderly demographic, urging the public to be vigilant about recognizing its signs and symptoms.

Why is this once-rare disease now affecting younger populations?

Experts point to a variety of modifiable risk factors, including diet, physical activity, obesity, poor sleep, alcohol, and tobacco use. Dr. Anton Bilchik, a renowned surgical oncologist, underscores the importance of preventive measures such as regular exercise and a balanced diet low in processed foods and red meat.

Furthermore, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in youth may disrupt the delicate balance of gut bacteria, potentially predisposing individuals to colorectal cancer later in life. Dr. Bilchik advocates for anti-inflammatory practices, emphasizing the importance of consuming fresh, whole foods and maintaining an active lifestyle.

While the study’s findings may sound alarming, Dr. Bilchik urges caution in interpreting the percentages, emphasizing that the absolute numbers remain relatively low. Nonetheless, Dr. Jacqueline Casillas underscores the importance of further research to understand the underlying causes and identify strategies for early diagnosis and prevention.

As the medical community grapples with this concerning trend, young people and healthcare providers alike must remain vigilant and proactive in addressing the rising threat of colorectal cancer among the youth.

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