Colon Cancer in Younger People

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Colon cancer is on the rise among young adults, new research reveals. A study of more than 260,000 cases showed that nearly 15 percent of patients were under 50, which is the recommended screening age for the disease, ScienceDaily.com reports. It’s unclear why that form of cancer is increasing among younger people, and more study is needed to determine if screenings should begin earlier in life. But researchers say doctors should not ignore the early warning signs, such as anemia and bleeding, or overlook family history, which is a significant risk factor. The study also found that patients under 50 are more often diagnosed with advanced-stage colon cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs, and that they are more likely to receive aggressive treatment, enabling them to live longer without a recurrence of their disease. That creates another public health issue, says author Samantha Hendren of University of Michigan, who notes that “the cancer community needs to prepare for the increasing number of very young colorectal cancer survivors who will need long-term support to cope with the physical and psychological consequences of their disease and treatments.”

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