March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. This week's video talks about the alarming trend of CRC in younger patients. While it's typically seen in patients over 50, it's not unheard of in patients much younger than that. New estimates from the American Cancer Society show that people born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer than those born in 1950.
The study done on the incidence and age of colon cancer onset does not show a link to family history in these younger patients, so the best guess is that the increased amount of cancer cases in younger patients is more about every day life factors. Diet, lifestyle habits and environmental issues like pollution and air quality are all being considered. Rising rates of obesity could be a factor as could lower rates of breastfeeding. While the guidelines still call for screening to begin at age 50 for patients with no family history, doctors advise that anyone with symptoms that don't go away like stomach pain, bleeding or other issues see a health care provider to get answers.