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Health Tips Tuesday: colorectal cancer rates

A new study evaluating rates of colorectal cancer found younger people have the steepest increasees in late stage colorectal cancer.
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 1:10 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - A new study evaluating rates of colorectal cancer found younger people have the steepest increasees in late stage colorectal cancer.

Dr. Kelly Tyler, medical director of colorectal surgery at Baystate Health, spoke with David about these findings.

A new study found that 20-39 year old’s have the steepest increases in the late stages of the disease. Why is that?

Tyler: “So there are couple of factors. First, the incidence of people born in the 1990′s is quite a bit higher than it was in the 1950′s so that has caused a shift, but the biggest problem is that is also an age group that isn’t screening colonoscopies, so we know in all patients and all people that when they are not screened they have a much higher chance of presenting later with colorectal cancer.”

Should detection for colorectal cancer begin earlier than age 45?

Tyler: “That’s a tough one because we determine our need for screening based on how mnay people have the disease. Even though this increasing in younger people, it is still about one percent of people in that age group, so launching widespread screening might not be the most effective thing to do.”

What are ways to prevent colorectal cancer?

Tyler: “There are a lot of lifestyle factors that need to be considered: healthy diets, staying active. We know obsitey and bad habits like tobacco and alcohol to the extreme can increase your risk. Some factors we can’t change like your family history or genetics. One message I would like to get across is if you are having symptoms that you make sure to see your doctor or health care provider and talk to them in a timely fashion.”

What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

Tyler: “One of the most important things to know about cancer is no symtpoms at all, so if you are eligible for things like a colonoscopy, you should definetly have it, but probably the most common symptom is rectal bleeding and a lot of people think that’s from hemoroids and that’s normal and most of the time, it is hemroids, but not always, so if you have persistent bleeding you really need to see one of your health providers to talk about that.”