This week, the American Cancer Society (ACS) issued new recommendations for colorectal cancer screenings in response to a rise in colorectal cancer rates among young people. The group is now recommending that adults at average risk should begin screening for colorectal cancer at age 45, rather than 50.

These recommendations are a result of an analysis of colorectal cancer cases from researchers at ACS. The numbers showed that new cases of colorectal cancer are increasing among young adults. In fact, someone born in 1990 now has double the risk of early colon cancer and quadruple the risk of early rectal cancer as someone born in 1950.

It’s a trend seen locally at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, says Arlene Larin, an Oncology Nurse Navigator with the hospital’s Digestive Health program.

“Over the past year, our Shady Grove Adventist Aquilino Cancer Center has seen an increase in younger patients, under the age of 50, diagnosed with colorectal cancer,” she says.

Why colorectal cancer rates are rising among young people is still unknown. However, a February 2017 study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute points to lifestyle choices as possible risk factors, including excess body weight, high consumption of processed meat and alcohol, and low levels of physical activity.

There are several screening options for colorectal cancer, including a stool test, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, all of which can be performed at Shady Grove Medical Center, Larin notes.

 

Regular colorectal cancer testing is one of the most successful ways to prevent or find the disease early.