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Too Young for This Sh*t

You may think you’re too young for this sh*t, but colorectal cancer is on the rise in younger adults—so listen up.


underwear icon Get the facts

Most people think that colorectal cancer affects only older adults—but today, more adults under the recommended screening age are being diagnosed than ever before. According to a 2015 study by MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers, by 2030 researchers expect that rates of colon cancer will increase by 90 percent for people ages 20-34 and 27.7 percent for people ages 35-49.

People under 50 who are diagnosed with colorectal are more likely to:

  • Be diagnosed at a later stage (when the cancer is more advanced and harder to treat)
  • Have to see two or more doctors before getting diagnosed
  • Have a family history of colorectal cancer

It’s important for all adults to learn about colorectal cancer prevention, early detection and the signs and symptoms of the disease—even if you think you’re too young for this sh*t.

underwear icon Know your risk

While your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older, it’s important to learn about other risk factors when you’re young, including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not getting enough physical activity
  • Eating a diet high in red or processed meats
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use

Your health history can also increase your risk, including having personal or family history of:

  • Colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps (growths)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Genetic syndromes like familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome)

If you have a history of any of these conditions, you may need to be screened earlier or more often – talk with your doctor right away.

underwear icon Understand the symptoms

Knowing the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer can help you recognize any changes in your body that could be cancer.

Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms (especially at first), but symptoms may include:

  • Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement)
  • Stomach pain, aches or cramps that don’t go away
  • A change in bowel habits (like diarrhea or constipation) lasting more than a few days
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor. You know your body best—so don’t be afraid to advocate for your health!

underwear icon Take steps to prevent

The good news is that colorectal cancer is preventable. Because most colorectal cancer cases start as precancerous polyps, getting screened is the most effective way to reduce your risk.

Start screening at age 45 if you’re at an average risk, but if you have certain risk factors you may need to start screening sooner or get screened more often—talk to your health care professional.

When it comes to colorectal cancer screening, you have options. Talk with your doctor about the best screening test for you.

underwear icon Spread the word!

Want to help raise awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screening and prevention? Share our graphics on social media with #2Young4This! Click here to download.



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References:

American Cancer Society (ACS). (2018) “Colon Cancer Cases Rising Among Young Adults.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2019) “What Are the Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer?”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2019) “What Are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?”

Colorectal Cancer Alliance. (2019) 2018 Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Survey.

Resources

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