Colon Cancer on the rise in young adults within the U.S.

A new report by the American Cancer Society (ACS) has found a disturbing increase in colon cancer diagnoses among young Americans.

According to the compiled research data, cancer diagnosis topped over 2 million for the first time from six of the 10 cancers accruing within the U.S. The most concerning case is colorectal cancer, which has now become the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in men and women below age 50.

That said, cancer mortality rates have taken a gradual fall, but for ACS senior scientific director Rebecca Siegel, the U.S. has clearly “dropped the ball” in cancer prevention. It’s a sentiment that Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, ACS senior vice president, agreed with.

“The continuous sharp increase in colorectal cancer in younger Americans is alarming,” said Jemal. “We need to halt and reverse this trend by increasing uptake of screening, including awareness of non-invasive stool tests with follow-up care, in people 45-49 years.”

“Up to one-third of people diagnosed before 50 have a family history or genetic predisposition and should begin screening before age 45 years. We also need to increase investment to elucidate the underlying reasons for the rising incidence to uncover additional preventive measures,” he continued.

A likely cause of this rise of cancer cases in the younger demographics likely has to do with adequate access to health services. According to the report, those younger than 65 are likely juggling more responsibilities and handling multiple jobs that leave them unable to gain access to quality health services.

Not only that, the report also noted that these cancer diagnoses vary wildly among racial, ethnic, and LGBT groups.

Ultimately, until the exact cause for these increases in cancer diagnoses is found, it’s ultimately up to the government to provide better healthcare access for the public.

“This report underscores the need for public policy interventions to help reduce these cancer disparities and save more lives,” said Lisa A. Lacasse, ACS advocacy affiliate president. “We urge lawmakers at all levels of government to advance policies that ensure more people have health insurance coverage as well as improved access to and affordability of care, such as increased funding for cancer research and screening programs. Doing so will bring us closer to our vision of ending cancer as we know it, for everyone.”

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