AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Colon cancer in the United States is decreasing overall, but increasing in young adults.
A recent American Cancer Society study shows people born in 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer as people born in 1950 faced at the same age. Program Manager for a Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Colorectal Cancer Screening Program, Michelle Marsh said we have the highest incident of colorectal cancer in this area compared to the rest of the state.
Current guidelines recommend screening at age 50, making it more difficult to catch in younger patients. Some doctors say the increase in younger age groups is concerning because it affects them in their most productive years. Marsh said while genetics play a role in causing colon cancer, environmental factors are likely to blame.
"The Texas Panhandle sees a little bit of higher increase of colorectal cancer, due to our diet that's high in red meat. so anytime you're eating a lot of beef, a lot of processed sausage, or things like that you're going to increase your risk of colon cancer," said Marsh.
Marsh also said a low activity level also increases risks. Colon cancer is preventable if caught early enough, and Texas Oncology Practice Director said knowing the symptoms makes all the difference.
"If I'm having changes in my bowel habits, changes in the way my stool looks, if I've noticed that I've been weak and I'm tired, obviously if I'm seeing blood in my stool then I should be talking to my primary doctor and going to see a GI doctor to see what's going on.