Young Americans are getting colon and rectal cancer at increasing rates, according to a recent study led by the American Cancer Society.
The study found that colon cancer has doubled and rectal cancer has quadrupled in people born in 1990 compared to people born around 1950.
“Our finding that colorectal cancer risk for millennials has escalated back to the level of those born in the late 1800s is very sobering," Rebecca Siegel, strategic director of surveillance information services in the Intramural Research Department at the American Cancer Society, said in a press release. "Educational campaigns are needed to alert clinicians and the general public about this increase to help reduce delays in diagnosis, which are so prevalent in young people, but also to encourage healthier eating and more active lifestyles to try to reverse this trend.”
The risk of colorectal cancer has increased steadily since the 1950s. Experts believe this is likely due to increased rates of obesity, an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity.
Symptoms of colon or rectal cancer include diarrhea, constipation, change in stool consistency (including narrowing) or other extreme changes in bowel habits that persist; a feeling of needing to have a bowel movement that continues even after going; rectal bleeding; dark or bloody stool; abnormal abdominal pain or cramping; fatigue; and sudden weight loss.
The American Cancer Society recommends lifestyle changes to lower the risk of colorectal cancer, including eating a lot of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, while minimizing the consumption of red meat (beef, pork or lamb) and processed meats like hot dogs and some luncheon meats; living an active lifstyle; maintaining a healthy weight; avoiding tobacco; and limiting alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
Colon and rectal cancer rates increase in younger Americans
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