Colorectal cancer is diagnosed mainly in people between the ages of 65 and 74, but it is estimated that 10% of new cases of colon cancer occurs to people younger than 50, according to a report from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published recently in the JAMA medical journal.
The USPSTF, an American association whose independent volunteer members expert in clinical prevention and evidence-based medicine, recommends in this study to begin screening in adults aged 45 years and up.
Generally speaking, colonoscopy is a diagnostic test for diseases of the intestinal tract, indicated for adults aged over 50 years. But since the 1990s, the rate of colorectal cancer has more than doubled in adults under 50 years of age. Nowadays, more young people die from this disease. On the other hand, the rate of these types of tumours in older adults is decreasing, precisely because of routine colonoscopies undertaken in this age group, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Factors which could increase the risk of colorectal cancer in some young people are smoking, obesity or physical inactivity. “We emphasize prevention and the early detection screening to make an early diagnosis and increase survival”, explains Dr. Víctor Aguilar, specialist in the digestive system at HC Marbella. This means having a healthy lifestyle, avoiding physical inactivity and having early detection screenings.
One of the best tests, easy to perform and with a low cost is the one performed on stool samplesand basically there are two of them: test to detect hidden blood in stools, and the DNA testing that detects not only blood but also genetic changes associated with this type of cancer. In case of a positive result in the faecal test a colonoscopy is essential to detect the cause because in many cases it is not be due to a maligant tumour, and this will also allow the removal of small lesions such as polyps, (avoiding in this way the advent of colorectal cancer).
“No matter what, for people at risk of suffering colorectal cancer at an early age, it is advisable to have a colonoscopy as soon as possible. Depending on the individual risk factors, it should be prescribed even to people younger than age 45”, said Dr Aguilar.
Colon cancer is not an elderly persons disease, “ it is important to raise awareness, check always with your doctor even the slightest symptom or any suspicious change that makes us doubt”, he concludes. Because survival is higher when the diagnosis is made at an earlier stage.
August 31, 2021
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