Lifestyle and diet contribute to increasing rates of colon cancer
Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the world. Researchers have now found that while overall colon cancer rates are falling, this dangerous form of cancer is on the rise among young adults.
The American Cancer Society scientists found in their investigation that more and more young adults are developing colon cancer. Colon cancer is a widespread disease, particularly in western industrialized countries. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of the National Cancer Institute".
Increases in colorectal cancer in young adults in the US have been noted
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the incidence of colorectal cancer in people under the age of 50 decreased. At that time, however, the rates were increasing among people over 50, the experts say. However, this worrying trend faded from the mid-1980s to 2013, during which the rate dropped among adults over 55 years of age. In return, the rate started to increase in younger adults. People aged 20 to 29 showed an increase of 2.4 percent per year. For adults aged 30 to 39, the rate increased by one percent per year, the US scientists explain.
Fewer cases of colon cancer in the elderly
In other words, the incidence of colorectal cancer increased by one or two cases per 100,000 people under the age of 50. By contrast, rates in older Americans have dropped by more than 100 colon cancers per 100,000 people, the study's authors say.
Increases in obesity can lead to more cases of colon cancer
It is not surprising that an obesity epidemic can be observed in parallel with the rise of colorectal cancer, the scientists explain. Unhealthy eating patterns and a lifestyle without adequate exercise increase the risk of colon cancer.
Which lifestyle factors increase the risk of colon cancer?
There are a number of lifestyle factors associated with colorectal cancer. These include, for example, increased body weight, high consumption of processed meat, increased alcohol consumption, low physical activity and smoking cigarettes, the experts say.
There is a particularly high number of cases of colon cancer in southern West Virginia
The authors also pointed out that people in West Virginia show some of the highest rates of obesity and very low rates of physical activity. There is also a very high consumption of cigarettes. As a possible consequence of this, there are a lot of cases of colon and rectum cancer in southern West Virginia. In this area, colorectal cancer is one of the most treated cancers, along with lung cancer, the experts explain. More and more young adults are among the sick.
Digestive problems can indicate colon cancer
Most medical professionals recommend colonoscopies from the age of 50. However, preventive measures are important even earlier, especially when people have cases of colon cancer in their family history or when people suffer from digestive problems, the experts report.
Colon cancer must be recognized as early as possible
For example, it is important that people pay attention to blood in their stools. Any irregularities in bowel movements can be an indicator of problems in the colon or rectum, the experts explain. The earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment. Once the cancer has spread, treatment becomes much more complicated. Colon cancer can form metastaseb throughout the body, but usually affects the liver first. It is therefore important that the cancer is recognized at an early stage. (as)