Colorectal cancer becoming more common among adults under 50

Researchers have found that more and more people under the age of 50 are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. New Jersey residents should know that the results, which were published in the peer-reviewed journal CANCER, are based on the cases gathered in the National Cancer Database. The number of colorectal cancer cases among younger people has been steadily growing since at least the 1970s.

In 2004, 10% of colorectal cancer patients in the U.S. were under 50. In 2015, that percentage went up to 12.2%. Even more important is that over half were diagnosed with stage III or IV colorectal cancer. For comparison, 40% of those over 50 are diagnosed with such an advanced stage of colorectal cancer.

African Americans and Hispanics under 50 saw a higher rate than whites, but colorectal cancer diagnoses were most frequent among those at the highest income levels. It appears that increasing body weight and changes in gastrointestinal bacteria explain why younger people are developing the cancer.

Another factor is the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of young people with much time in front of TVs and little time exercising. An excess of alcohol and processed meat are contributing factors. In any case, adults 45 and older may want to get regular colorectal cancer screening.

There are times when doctors may, through their own fault, misdiagnose colorectal cancer or delay in their diagnosis of it. Those who are injured through a doctor’s negligence may want to pursue a medical malpractice case although they should know that to do so will likely require legal assistance. Malpractice claims end in some of the highest settlements in the field of personal injury, so there’s bound to be strong opposition. A lawyer may handle all negotiations.

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