Apr 20, 2019 02:20 PM EDT
Colorectal cancer is the major source of death and cancer incidence in the United States, studies show. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, there are 145,600 cases of colorectal cancer and 51,020 deaths across America have been reported. It makes it the fourth most diagnosed form of cancer and it is recorded as the second leading cause of deaths from cancer.
This means that in every hour, around 17 families across America will learn that a family member has colorectal cancer and at least six families will lose a loved one to the disease. This may be a sobering number, but there is good news.
Overall the morality and incidence rate for colorectal cancer have declined since 1980s, and it is a consequence of increased engagement in preventive screening, more effective treatment and diagnosis and a better awareness of risk factors such as obesity, family history, smoking, heavy drinking, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet. Awareness of symptoms such as rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue, narrowing of stool, constipation, chronic diarrhea and chronic weakness have increased.
However, it is not the same case for young adults. Colorectal cancer deaths have increased over the last three decades in people under the age of 50. In 2017, Dr. Rebecca Siegel and other researchers published a detailed statistical data that shows that while the disease in younger people remains a small fraction of the overall total, it is rising rapidly.
This is in contrast to the situation for those above 50 years old, whom the cancer percentage is decreasing. This data brought the young adult issue on the spotlight and it raised awareness of the existence of this issue.
With screening, polyps, which is a precancerous growth, and early-stage cancers can be detected and removed before they advance to dangerous stages. Screening ahs become a strategy for prevention of colorectal cancer. Number of methods for colorectal cancer screening are available such as flexible sigmoidoscopy, imaging, colonoscopy and stool-based tests.
However, screening Is usually not recommended for those who are under 50 years old. This and the lack of awareness of the disease results in prolonged times for patients to obtain a firm cancer diagnosis. Late diagnosis usually result in advanced stages of the illness and sometimes it is difficult to treat.
While the research is going on for colorectal cancer, it is crucial that young adults and their families must be aware of the family history, their lifestyles and the symptoms so the possible occurrence of the disease is recognized early and it can be dealt with immediately.
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