Most people think that colorectal cancer affects only older adults—but today, more adults under 45 are being diagnosed than ever before.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the rate of colorectal cancer in people younger than 50 has doubled since the 1990s. NCI estimates that by 2030, approximately 1 in 10 colon cancers and 1 in 4 rectal cancers will be diagnosed in people under 50 years old.
People under 50 who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer are more likely to:
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.
While your risk of getting colorectal cancer does increase as you get older, it’s important to learn about other risk factors when you’re young, including:
Your health history can also increase your risk, including having personal or family history of:
Or a personal history of:
If you are at increased risk, you may need to be screened earlier or more often – talk with your doctor right away.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer can help you recognize any changes in your body that could be caused by cancer.
Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer may not cause any symptoms (especially at first), but symptoms may include:
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!
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.
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.