Can Young People Get Colon Cancer?

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It’s undeniable that some diseases are mainly associated with older ages. The same goes for colon cancer (together with rectal cancer, they are referred to as colorectal /bowel cancers), it occurs more often in older people. A challenging question, can young people get it, too?

In fact, age is a significant risk factor for colon cancer

Cancers (including colorectal cancers) continue to occur in people of all ages. The number of patients with cancer continues to increase steadily as people grow and age!

image_illustration351Aging is a risk factor of many different health conditions, including many types of cancer. As you age, you are also more likely to have health problems that can affect your personal well-being and feeling of self-worth.

Colon and rectal cancers are relatively more common in older adults (typically over 50). Even age can be the greatest single risk factor. About 80 percent of bowel cancers occur in people aged 60 or older.

In other words, again the risk rises as we get older! Other risk factors include a family history of the same condition, poor diet (especially high in fat and low in fiber), lifestyle factors (such as smoking and the habit of abusing alcohol), and other health conditions – read more in this section!

There is nothing you can do to prevent aging. But this doesn’t mean that colon cancer is unpreventable. Many options you can do to prevent it through some lifestyle measures!

But why does aging have a significant role in increasing the risk? The answer may be attributed by many things.

Unfortunately there is still no clearly answer. But experts believe that it may be due the combination of different factors such as the body immune system that goes weaker with age, poor diet, and longer exposure to carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).

Can colon cancer occur in young people?

There is no strict definition between cancer in young adults and childhood cancers. But scientifically, young people are those that start between 20 and 39.

Childhood cancers are much less common. The type of cancer in childhood is also usually different to what we find in adults. For instance, many cases of cancers in children are not associated with environmental or lifestyle factors. But they are usually linked to DNA abnormalities that take place too early (even this may occur before birth).

Cancer in young people is not common, too. There are a wide variety of cancers that can affect this age range. And treating these cancers can also be challenging for numerous different reasons.

How about colon and rectal cancers?

In general, again bowel cancers are more likely to affect older people than young people. However they can affect anyone, including younger people though much less frequently.

So for young adults, there is also a risk to develop bowel cancer. Even the number of the disease in young people is increasing in recent years.

About 2,000 younger people diagnosed with colorectal cancers in the U.K every year, including about 40 of them are under the age of 20. In the U.S, every year about 10-20 percent of patients diagnosed with this cancer are younger than 40. And in Australia, about 1 in 14 patients with the disease are under the age of 40.

This suggests that it is not just an old person’s disease, and it doesn’t care how old you are. The screening test before the age of 50 may be necessary, especially for people with many risk factors of the disease!

The challenging issue is the cause of the problem. Some studies are going to find the answer of any factors that can contribute to cause colon cancer too early. Experts believe that it may be associated with the combination of some factors, especially the role of inherited genetic.

Interestingly, colon cancer is more likely to grow slowly and doesn’t cause any symptom – see more in here!

By educating yourself about the risks of the disease is an important step forward to fight against the disease. The following are some checklists that young people need to be aware of:


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