Typically when we hear the terms “colon cancer” and “colonoscopy,” we automatically tune it out and think it won’t happen to us. Well that is no longer the case, my friends. Doctors say “shocking new numbers of millennials and Generation ‘Xers are being diagnosed with colon cancer.”
A new study found that people born in 1990 are twice as likely to get colon cancer in comparison to someone born in 1950. While the reason for this spike in diagnosis remains unknown, scientists believe it’s the usual colon cancer suspects: physical inactivity, poor diet and obesity.
Catherine Gainey, a mother of two whose husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer at age 31, said many doctors dismissed his symptoms due to his unusual young age.
“He returned to the doctor and was told, ‘Oh, you have a labor intensive job at times, and you have a new baby at home,’” Catherine recalls.
Typically colon cancer screenings aren’t suggested until age 50.
“You’re only 35, so I think you just need to have more fiber in your diet,” said Jamie Aten who remembers what a doctor told him before he was eventually diagnosed weeks later.
Dr. Kevin Dawravoo, a hematologist-oncoloist with Northwestern Medicine, says there are no guidelines to screening younger people even though their cancer rates are rising.
The moral of the story is to know the symptoms of colon cancer for yourself. Being young doesn’t exclude you from this disease. If you feel something is wrong, speak up!