Published on December 23, 2021
This post has been sponsored by Guardant Health as part of their 2021 support of the Too Young for This Sh*t campaign.
Each year in the U.S., more than 149,500 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and nearly 53,000 die of the disease1. Thanks to screening tools that detect colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps, these numbers have steadily declined over the past 30 years. However, colorectal cancer is on the rise in young people, who are more likely to detect the disease in later stages and may be unprepared to navigate what many still think of as “an older person’s disease.” According to a 2015 study by MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers, it is expected that rates of colon cancer will increase by for people ages 20-34 and 27.7% for people ages 35-49 by 2030.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation recognizes that colorectal cancer is on the rise in adults under 50. We are investing in colorectal cancer education through our “Too Young for This Sh*t” campaign, which encourages younger adults to learn about colorectal cancer risk reduction, early detection and signs and symptoms. The campaign also highlights talking to your doctor if you experience these symptoms.
As part of this initiative, the Foundation was instrumental in urging the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to lower the recommended screening age from 50 to 45 so that more people have access to colorectal cancer screening. Beginning regular screening at age 45 will help prevent cancer or detect it early when successful treatment is more likely.
It’s important for all adults to learn about colorectal cancer prevention, early detection and signs and symptoms of the disease. It’s especially vital we reach younger African Americans with this campaign. According to the American Cancer Society, this group is 20% more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 40% more likely to die from complications of the disease than most other racial groups in the U.S.
Through educational campaigns like “Too Young for This Sh*t,” we have been able to make significant strides in educating the public so we can dare to imagine a world where no one dies of cancer.