BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Wednesday kicks off colon cancer awareness month.
The American Cancer Society has found a new cancer trend impacting young people. A new study finds a sharp rise in colorectal cancers in people as young as in their 20’s and 30’s.
The study found colorectal cancer rates which had dropped steadily overall are increasing for every generation born since 1950.
It’s this upward trend that is causing doctors like Dr. Bryan Butler. He has been a member of the Buffalo Medical Group, and works at Sisters of Charity Hospital. He’s also been certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery.
He said, “If you compare someone who was born in 1990 to somebody who was born in 1950, the risk of colon cancer has doubled and the risk of rectal cancer has quadrupled.”
It’s something he’s noticed in his own patients over the past few years:
He said, “My youngest patient was 28 years old, and came with the assumption that she was bleeding from hemorrhoids and unfortunately the work revealed there was a rectal cancer that was relatively advanced.”
Experts aren’t sure why younger people are now at risk. But Dr, Butler said, sedentary lifestyle, diet, obesity, hard alcohol consumption can all be related to these types of cancers. It’s something that could spark a change, soon. “This information, I’m sure is going to start a conversation about whether screening should be started at an earlier age,” said Dr. Butler.
Doctors say thanks to widespread use of screening tests like colonoscopies, we’re seeing less of these kinds of cancer overall.
Dr. Butler said, “Be aware of the symptoms, be aware of the prevalence of colorectal cancer, keep in mind it is preventable.”
The latest analysis is the largest and most detailed to date, looking at large cancer registries reporting on nearly half a million cases dating back to 1974.
To learn more about the study, head to the link here.