Colorectal Cancer cases on the rise amongst younger people

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 10:30 PM CST
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - Colorectal Cancer cases are on the rise throughout a vast majority of younger people across the nation.

It’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month making it a vital time to spread awareness.

In a recent study from the American Cancer Society this year, approximately 153,020 individuals will be diagnosed with CRC and 52,550 will die from the disease, including 19,550 cases and 3750 deaths in individuals younger than 50 years.

Last year, an estimated 12,444 Texans were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and an estimated 4,447 Texans died from it.

Midland Memorial Hospital Gastroenterologist Indira Donepudi says the American Cancer Society has now lowered the age suggested for a first colonoscopy to 45.

“I had a couple of patients last week who were diagnosed with colon cancer who were less than 50, so we see this day in and day out in our life. Last week there were four people diagnosed with cancer,” said Dr. Donepudi.

Dr. Donepudi  says the cancer develops in the form of polyps slowly over years and completing a colonoscopy early can help find and remove the polyps before they turn cancerous.

“I think it’s most likely related to our food, eating processed meat, eating less fiber in their diet and also smoking, alcohol, obesity these are all the risk factors,” said Dr. Donepudi.

Colon cancer can be genetic so if it does run in your family you could be at a higher risk but it can be cured if found at an early stage.

Dr. Donepudi says symptoms can vary.

“Symptoms of rectal bleeding, weight loss, loss of appetite and abdominal pain just go to your doctor and tell them about your symptoms,” Dr. Donepudi.

Dr. Donepudi says following a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, stopping drinking alcohol, smoking and doing more physical exercise can prevent colon cancer.