Since the mid-1990s, colorectal cancer diagnoses among adults under the age of 50 has dramatically risen in the country. The disease now has become one of the leading causes of cancer-related death for U.S. residents in this age group.
The American Cancer Society reported that roughly 18,000 U.S. residents under the age of 50 will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2020. Researchers and medical experts remain puzzled as to what has led to the increase in colorectal cancer cases among young adults. Still, some within this age group are initially misdiagnosed, leading to a delay in necessary treatment.
Survey: 82% initially misdiagnosed
With the increasing number of cases, some medical experts now recommend people begin colorectal screening by age 45 rather than 50. Colorectal cancer often is attributed to smoking, lack of physical activity, obesity and an unhealthy diet among older adults.
The America Cancer Society noted that in 2020, an estimated 104,610 cases of colon cancer and 43,340 cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed in the country. Of these total cases, an estimated 53,200 people will die or 36%.
If not for a misdiagnosis, many of these cases could receive much prompter treatment. The results of a 2017 global survey by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance — a Washington-based nonprofit – imply this. Of the more than 1,500 colorectal cancer survivors under the age of 50 who responded to the survey, 82% were initially misdiagnosed.
Highly treatable in early stages
Time is of the essence when dealing with cancer. When detected in the early stages, colorectal cancer remains highly treatable. However, an initial misdiagnosis can potentially prove fatal when a patient later receives a diagnosis of late-stage colorectal cancer.
Advocate for yourself. If you suspect you may have a more serious malady than what your physician diagnosed, please get a second opinion. Colorectal cancer often is an overlooked disease among younger adults.