Dr. Peyton Berookim and the colonoscopy Los Angeles team want to help educate all individuals about colon cancer, regardless of their age.
Though colon cancer is common in people over 50, people under 50 need to be aware of its warning signs as well. According to the American Cancer Society, there has been an increase in the rate of colorectal cancer in people in their 20s and 30s. In 2013 the rate of those under 50 with colorectal cancer was at 11%, up from 6% in 1990.
Warning signs of colon cancer can include blood in the stool, rectal bleeding, and black or dark stools. In addition, symptoms can include sudden and unexplained weight loss or fatigue. Persistent cramps, gas pain, lower back pain, and a bloated feeling may also occur.
Younger people are typically not concerned about colon cancer and are less likely to undergo a colonoscopy screening, Furthermore, many of the symptoms pointing to colorectal cancer are sometimes related to other medical condition and may be misinterpreted. As a result, colon cancer is less likely to be diagnosed while it is still treatable.
So what do younger people need to be aware of?
Know your family history.
If anyone in your family has had colorectal cancer you may need to begin screenings at age 40 instead of 50.
Be aware of what is normal or typical of your body. Once you notice some irregularities, keep a journal to share with your doctor to help them get a better picture of what is going on.
If your doctor is brushing off symptoms that you feel are serious see another physician for a second opinion. Colon cancer is treatable if it is found early enough.
A healthy lifestyle that reduces your risk for heart disease and diabetes may also protect you from colon cancer. Eat your fruits and vegetables and foods that are high in fiber, folate, and calcium. Smoking, heavy alcohol, and abstaining from exercise are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. Adjust your habits accordingly.