colonoscopy, colon cancer, endoscope, gut flora, post-colonoscopy

The rates of rectal and colon cancer have been declining for decades. That may be in part because of screening through colonoscopies. Most such cancers occur in middle-aged and older people. The usual recommendation is for people at average risk to have a colonoscopy at age 50 and one every 10 years after that.

Younger People Are Now Being Diagnosed with Colon Cancer:

An alarming new trend has recently been detected. People born after 1990 are at double the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer. These individuals are still young when their cancers are diagnosed. While the absolute risk remains low, this increase is dramatic and worrisome.

Physicians do not normally screen young people for colorectal cancer. Unless a young person has significant symptoms, he or she may not undergo a colonoscopy. As a result, the diagnosis of colon cancer might be delayed. This has implications for treatment as well, since a delayed diagnosis could mean a more advanced cancer.

Siegel et al, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Feb. 28, 2017 

Preventing Colon Cancer:

These alarming data suggest that it is more important than ever for young people to avoid junk food, eat their vegetables and get regular exercise. People who do not smoke and who maintain a healthy weight may be able to keep their risk relatively low.

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  1. Rick

    Just because they are diagnosing stomach and rectal cancers at earlier stages of the disease does not mean that the incidences of cancers have dropped . I doubt very much if cases of those type of cancers have declined due to the amount of PPI’s , antibiotics, NSAID’s and basically most acid based medications being used throughout the industry.

  2. Steve
    Houston, TX

    This age group has grown up with electronic devices. And we have been warned about the blue light frequency these devices emit. We are told to turn them off hours before bedtime. This blue light suppresses melatonin production which is used to repair the body. And many of the new LED street lights contain this same blue light. Could there be a connection between the blue light and the rise in cancers?

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