Colon Cancer in Young People
Colon Cancer is not just an old man’s disease.
The number of people diagnosed with colon cancer under the age of 50 has steadily increased in the United States over the past 10 years. During this same time period, fewer people aged 50 and older have been diagnosed thanks to increased screening in this age group. Approximately ten percent of colorectal cancer cases are in people under the age of 50. Twenty percent of all rectal cancers are now diagnosed in people under 50. And when these young people are finally diagnosed, they often have late-stage cancer.
While discussions of lowering the screening age have begun, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force feels there is insufficient evidence for lowering the screening age to 40 years. Screening is recommended to start earlier than 50 in those with a family history of colon cancer and in those with hereditary genetic syndromes associated with increased risk.
If you are experiencing symptoms inherent to colon cancer, get screened!
Meredith’s Miracles is proud to be a part of the Never Too Young Coalition that seeks to raise awareness of this issue as well as finding answers to the questions that still remain about young-onset colon cancer.
Colon Cancer Symptoms
- A change in bowel habits — constipation or diarrhea that lasts more than a couple of weeks.
- A feeling that the bowel does not empty completely.
- Bright red or very dark blood in the stool, black stools that may indicate hidden blood.
- Stools that look narrower or thinner than normal.
- Abdominal discomfort such as frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, or cramps.
- Weight loss with no known explanation.
- Constant tiredness or fatigue.
- Unexplained anemia (low number of red blood cells).