According to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the rates of colon cancer are rising among millennials while rates for the older generation are decreasing.
The study found out that colon cancer rates increased by 2.4% between the mid-1980s and 2013 among people aged 20 to 29 years old, and also increased by 1% among adults aged 30 to 39 years old.
What’s even more surprising is that the study also shows a decline of colon cancer rates among people aged 50 and above, when in fact it is this age group that is believed to be the most at risk for the disease. As a result, people born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer compared to those born in 1950.
Obesity To Be Blamed
Rebecca Siegel, lead researcher for the study, said that their findings point to a growing incidence of colorectal cancer among millennials and Gen X-ers. The study cites obesity as the number one reason for the rising rates. Other risk factors include sedentary lifestyles, excessive alcohol consumption, and unhealthy dietary habits—all of which are prevalent among the younger generation.
Earlier Screening Encouraged
The study further recommends that colonoscopy be done at an earlier stage. Normally, the procedure is done to people turning 50, while people who have a personal and family history of colon cancer are encouraged to take the screening at the age of 45.
However, the study suggests to take an earlier colonoscopy screening regardless of whether or not you have a history. “As nearly one-third of rectal cancer patients are younger than age 55 years, screening initiation before age 50 years should be considered.”
Getting a colonoscopy is not by any means a fun experience, but it could be the key to colon cancer prevention. Please contact the Proctology Institute to set up a colonoscopy appointment today.