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An Alarming Rise in Misdiagnosis of Colorectal Cancer in Young Adults

Cancer is often assumed to be an older person’s disease; it can be easy to forget that cancer can target younger people, as well. Though the incidence of young people being diagnosed with cancer is less commonplace than cancer in older populations, scientists and researchers are seeing a dramatic rise in the incidence of colorectal cancer in younger patients.

The Study Demonstrating Age-Related Increases in Colorectal Cancer

In a study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers discuss that the incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) in patients in their 20s and 30s has increased substantially, even though the incidence of colorectal cancer itself had been declining for decades in the United States. Between 2003 and 2012, it was estimated that CRC was decreasing at a pace of 3% annually. Between 1975 through 2000, the prevalence and risk had been declining dramatically due to an increase in screening, increased information about the cancer, and the decrease in risk factors associated with CRC. Increased screening in the older generations has contributed to the decrease in CRC in older patients who are 50 years of age or older; younger people, however, are not recommended for screening.

The vast majority of colorectal cancers are still diagnosed in older patients, with a rate of 90% of all diagnosed CRCs occurring in patients older than 50 years of age. The new study evaluates the presence of cancer depending on birth year and found that there was an uptick of CRC in patients born after 1950, with a dramatic decline in patients born between 1890 and 1950. The American Cancer Society estimates that 13,500 cases of colon and rectal cancers will be diagnosed annually in the 50 and younger crowd.

What is Colon Cancer and What are its Risk Factors?

The occurrence of colon cancer starts with the growth of abnormal cells in the colon that spread throughout the body. Symptoms include anemia and loss of red blood cells, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and the narrowing/thinning of stool. Risk factors associated with colon cancer are smoking, alcohol use, over-consumption of red meat, diabetes, and obesity. There is also a genetic link for colon cancer, with family history being an important indicator.

What Makes CRC More Dangerous Than Other Cancers

Colorectal cancer progresses quickly and can be lethal if not caught early in its existence. CRC claims more than 50,000 deaths annually and is the second and third leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women, respectively. When caught early, at Stage 1, the five-year survival rate is estimated at 92%. As the CRC advances, the rates of survival decrease drastically. With a more advanced CRC, or Stage IV, cancer has spread to other organs and the rate of survival at five years is 11 %.

Push to Test Young Adults; CRC More Treatable at Stage I Than Stage IV

Because of the quick progression of CRC and the alarming and dramatic occurrence of CRC in young adults, there should be a trend to test more and more young people with demonstrated symptoms rather than dismissing them just because of their age. Younger people presenting with symptoms should be screened with a colonoscopy as soon as the symptoms seem to be pointing to CRC since a misdiagnosis or assuming the symptoms are being exaggerated could lead to early death for a young adult with a lot of life left to live.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

If you or a loved one was misdiagnosed and your CRC was not diagnosed as early as it should have been, it is important to consult with an experienced Waldorf personal injury attorney to discuss possible legal options for compensation. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.