Although the number of colon and rectal cancer cases have dropped among older generations due to increased colonoscopy screenings, rates are rising among young adults aged 20 to 49 according to a new study reported in JAMA Surgery. Researchers used data from cancer cases in the U.S. from 1975 to 2010 to investigate colon and rectal cancer diagnoses by age.
While the trend is troubling, being informed about your family history and other colorectal cancer risk factors such as diet and lack of physical activity can help your doctor determine if you need to be screened before the recommended age of 50. In most cases, there are no symptoms associated with the early stages of colon cancer. Seek immediate attention if you experience any of the following symptoms: anemia, blood in stool, change in bowel habits, unexplained weight loss and persistent abdominal or rectal pain.