A recent study published by the American Cancer Society found that those who were born between 1990 and 1999 have a higher risk of developing bowel, rectal and colon cancer. American's under the age of 55 are facing double the risk of bowel cancer and 4 times the risk of rectal cancer in comparison to those born in 1950 and earlier.
Co-author, Rebecca Siegel and chief of colorectal surgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center chalk it up to the environmental factors, lifestyle choices and behaviours as possible causes for the startling increase in risk.
Although the root cause for the rise in colorectal cancer isn't very clear at this time, Chang is putting emphasis on the importance of raising regular minimally invasive screenings, raising awareness and paying attention to symptoms. This applies to both doctors and their young patients.
Allison Rosen was 32 when she diagnosed with colon cancer and she is using her experience to advocate prevention. Despite having symptoms, she put off her colonoscopy longer than recommended. Rosen says her symptoms included extremely painful cramps, bloating, weight loss, constipation and blood in the stool.
Not seeking immediate treatment is one of the main concerns for Siegel, "I've heard stories of young people having symptoms for literally years," she said.
If you or someone you know may be noticing similar symptoms, go see a doctor right away. It may or may not be cancer, but better safe than sorry.
[Image source: Marciano & Macavoy]