American Cancer Society: More people under 55 are dying from colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer has become the leading cause of cancer death for people ages 55 and under, according to data from the American Cancer Society.
It also says that it has seen an increase in overall cancer rates among younger people.
"Cancer which usually would affect people over 65 has now become much more prevalent in patients under 55," says Dr. Jonathan Villena of the American Cancer Society.
Doctors say in particular, colon cancer is driving up the numbers for younger people. While current guidelines say people should start screening for colorectal cancer at 45, only a fraction of people get screened.
"Colon cancer screening is not just finding a pre-cancerous lesion, but it's taking it out before it turns into cancer," says Dr. Arif Kamal of the American Cancer Society.
Screenings entail a colonoscopy or an at-home stool test. Before completing either, people need to visit their primary care provider to determine their risk and figure out which test is right for them.
"We need to pay attention because colon cancer, colorectal cancer, does not discriminate. Clearly everyone is at risk. I think we need to pay attention to minimizing our risk and if we have signs or risk factors seeking medical attention," says Dr. Marilee Freitas, of Stamford Health.
Click here for more information on cancer screenings and symptoms to watch for.