Colon cancer is on the rise among younger adults: report

The American Cancer Society is recommending Americans as young as 45 be screened for colon disease

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The untimely death of Chadwick Boseman Friday is bringing attention to the growing impact of colorectal cancer on younger adults.

Research from a March study shows that cases are on the rise for patients under the age of 50. Boseman, who quietly battled colon cancer for four years, was 43 when he passed.

CNN recently reported that the March study, carried out by the American Cancer Society, indicates that the median age for people diagnosed with colorectal cancer has fallen in a window of less than 30 years. Colorectal cancer is also known as colorectal or rectal cancer, depending on where the disease originates in the bowel.

As of 2016, the average age of patients getting colorectal cancer is 66, down from 72 in 1989. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 52,500 Americans died of colorectal cancer in 2017, its most recent report.

READ MORE: ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman dies of colon cancer at 43

With diagnoses of colorectal cancer rising among patients under the age of 66, cases for people over the age of 65 are decreasing.

The only deadlier forms of cancer in America are lung cancer and prostate cancer for men and lung and breast cancer for women, respectively, according to the CDC.

Rebecca Siegel, scientific director of surveillance research at the ACS, co-authored the colorectal cancer study. She and fellow scientists had previously noticed the rise of cases in younger patients, but were taken aback by the speed of the increase.

“This report is very important because it not only provides a snapshot of the current colorectal cancer burden, but also a window to the future,” Siegal stated.

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A 2018 report from the US National Library of Medicine indicated that Black Americans have a higher mortality rate from colorectal cancer than white Americans. The report states that African Americans are 26% more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than white Americans and die at a 20% higher rate.

Most health organizations advise testing for colon and rectal cancer starting at age 50. With the recent report, the ACS is recommending that people being the screening process at age 45.

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