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Why the Risk of Colorectal Cancer is High among Millennials

A study has observed that many young people born in the 1990s are developing colorectal cancer at alarming rates. Furthermore, millennials are likely to develop the disease twice as much compared to the young adults born in the 1950s. As for older generations, it was found that colorectal cancer incidents have dropped tremendously. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations state that people to start screening for colorectal cancer at age 50. But with the new developments, this could change soon. What could really be the reason behind the increasing risks in millennials? Some oncologists attribute it to the rising cultural and lifestyle shifts that have taken place during the last century.

Before, people had an active and healthy lifestyle. A diet full of freshly prepared foods from the farm. Today there is less activity and a more health-threatening sedentary lifestyle that leads to obesity in the younger generation. The rates of obesity keep increasing in Black and Latin Americans each day, according to a report.

Generally, obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and smoking are the main causal factors for colon cancer. People with a history of colorectal cancer are also at high risk. In young adults, the disease is often diagnosed at a late stage, probably due to ignorance and perception that colon cancer develops in older adults. This leads to late screening and diagnosis, making treatment harder for the patients.

The symptoms for colorectal cancer include unexplained weight loss, dark-colored stool, abdominal bloating, vomiting, among others. Most symptoms can be overlooked and lead to late diagnosis. However, colorectal cancer is highly treatable, especially when caught early and still localized.

Screening for colorectal cancer is the only way to identify it early and ensure successful treatment. Many young adults avoid screening procedures like colonoscopy because of the discomfort involved in the procedure. But there are other screening methods such as flexible sigmoidoscopy and fecal occult blood tests.

The rise in colorectal cancer risks in young adults calls for a widespread campaign to create awareness to the public. They need to be sensitized to practice healthy habits such as exercising, healthy diets, limiting smoking and alcohol consumption, and much more.

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