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Why Colorectal Cancer Cases Are High In Young Adults

New data from the National Cancer Institute shows that colorectal cancer cases are getting more prevalent in young adults today. Experts think it’s due to the modern sugary diet, sedentary lifestyles or gut microbiome changes. But these are just speculations. The causes of this rise are not clear yet.

Digestive issues, feeling bloated, low energy levels, rectal bleeding, feeling nauseous and much more are all symptoms of colorectal cancer. According to statistics, more young adults are affected by rectal cancer than colon cancer. Rectal cancer requires complex treatment compared to colon cancer.

Factors Contributing to the Rise

  • A few cases of colorectal cancer are caused by hereditary factors such as Lynch Syndrome, family history, sedentary lifestyles and gut microbiome changes.
  • General factors for colorectal cancer among young adults include heavy alcohol consumption, smoking, prolonged sitting watching television and more.
  • Because of how these incidences have happened in a short time, it is highly likely that environmental risk factors such as lifestyle and dietary changes and exposure trends are the causes of the rise in colorectal cancer incidence in young adults.
  • Dietary changes in young adults have seen them eating more processed meat and red meat and less fiber from vegetables and fruits. Obesity rates are also high, leading to increased amounts of estrogen and insulin, which in turn fuels cell growth, causing inflammation in the tissues. Inflammation will release cytokines that will cause tumor growth. Dietary habits can also affect the bacterial population in the gut and change the levels of hormones and metabolites, thus affecting the tumor growth.
  • High sugar intake could also lead to the growth of tumors and the aggressiveness of cancer. Excess sugar intake causes benign polyps to turn cancerous. The cells will grow and proliferate at rapid rates, causing new mutations to arise.
  • The fear of colonoscopy could also be a contributing factor to the rise of colorectal cancer in younger adults.

Since colorectal cancer in younger patients is diagnosed when it has already advanced, awareness is needed to help them get screened early to identify and prevent or treat it while it’s still curable.

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