Think You Are Too Young For Colon Cancer?
- Posted on: Mar 7 2016
March is colon cancer awareness month and every year adults over the age of 50 are encouraged to start colon health screenings. But some people need to start screenings years before then. Colon cancer was once thought to be an older person’s disease, but there has been a rise in diagnosis in patients as young as 20 and the risk is rising. For some young adults the increased risk is caused by a genetic condition called Lynch Syndrome and those with a family history of colon cancer are at risk for diagnosis at younger ages.
Colon cancer is caused by an abnormal accumulation of cells called polyps. When found at early stages, the polyps can be removed and cancer prevented or easily treated. Symptoms of colon cancer can include changes in bowel movements, diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding or blood in the stool. Symptoms can easily be ignored or treated with medications, especially in the younger population, but if symptoms persist it is important to discuss them with your doctor no matter your age. Risk factors for colon cancer include a personal history of colon polyps, a family history of colon cancer, being overweight, diabetes, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and lack of exercise.
For young people the best thing to do is get and stay healthy. Manage your weight and eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables with minimal red meat and junk foods. Stop smoking, get active and exercise on a routine basis. And most importantly, take any symptoms seriously, talk with your doctor about any and all symptoms especially if you have factors that place you at a higher risk.
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