American Cancer Society: Colon cancer trends upward for people under 55
Doctors with the American Cancer Society say that there is an “alarming trend” of people in their early 40s and 50s being diagnosed with colon cancer.
About one in five colorectal cancer cases are happening in those younger than 55, according to medical statistics.
Doctors say it is especially important for people to be proactive when it comes to colon cancer screenings.
"Any person who is 45 or older needs to call their doctor today and get that scheduled,” said Dr. Arif Kamal, Chief Patient Officer of the American Cancer Society.
"Many patients are afraid of a colonoscopy, but I tell them there's nothing to be afraid about. It's really a simple procedure,” said gastroenterologist Dr. Bruce Salzberg.
Salzberg says the cause of colon cancer is not clear, but there are lifestyle factors known to increase cancer risk.
"Obesity, smoking, alcohol and lack of physical activity,” he said.
While many cases lack early symptoms, there are some signs to be aware of.
"Number one is rectal bleeding. Many patients think that it's a hemorrhoid,” he said.
Salzberg also recommends that patients talk to their doctor if they experience unexplained weight loss, changes in bowel movements and stomach pain.