Colorectal Cancer Among Young PopulationsSep 16, 2021
| Dr. Christopher Lieu recently sat down with CBS Denver news to discuss the recent change in the recommended screening age for colon cancer. The third most common cancer in America, Colorado has an estimated 2,100 new cases of colon cancer each year, with an overall increase in cases among younger people.
“While colorectal cancer has been decreasing in the older populations, and this is due to better screening, prevention and colonoscopies, we know that the younger population where we don’t typically screen people or get colonoscopies, the number of cases is actually rising" says Dr. Lieu.
In response to predictions that incidents of early age onset for rectal cancer are expected to increase by 140% by the year 2030, Dr. Lieu emphasizes that colorectal cancer is a largely preventable cancer.
“We know that colorectal cancers develop on the colon and rectum, and when they’re left untreated, these polyps have the potential to become cancers. By taking the time to get screening and get a colonoscopy, you can remove these polyps and prevent cancer that would develop in the future. Or, if you already have a diagnosis of cancer, you’re much more likely to find it at an earlier stage where it can be surgically removed before it grows or spreads, where the cure rates are much, much lower.”
In addition to early screening, there are signs and symptoms to look out for, including persistent change in bowel habits, persistent abdominal pain, and unexplained fatigue or weight loss. The goal, says Dr. Lieu, is to encourage people to discuss symptoms with their primary health care providers and to understand that you are never too young to have colorectal cancer. "“Now is the time to focus on your health and to make sure that you’re meeting with your primary care physician, and to make sure your screening is up to date. It’s never too late.”
View story on the CBS website