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Colon Cancer Takes Grim Toll on Younger Population, Report Unveils Alarming Trends

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Colon cancer has become the leading cause of cancer deaths in men under 50 and the second deadliest for women in the same age group, trailing only behind breast cancer, according to recent data from the American Cancer Society. 

This startling revelation underscores a significant shift in the landscape of cancer mortality, as the incidence of colon cancer has steadily increased over the past two decades.

Traditionally associated with the elderly, colon cancer is now making its mark among adults aged 50 to 64, with new diagnoses rising from 25% to 30% since 1995. 

Despite the ongoing drop in total cancer fatalities in the United States, this data which was published in CA A Cancer Journal for Clinicians highlights the rise of colorectal malignancies as the primary cause of cancer death among younger persons.

Dr. Kimmie Ng, director of the Young Onset Colorectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, notes that the trend of younger patients seeking treatment for colorectal cancer has been observed for decades. 

Uncertain Factors in Colorectal Cancer Rise

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Colon cancer has become the leading cause of cancer deaths in men under 50 and the second deadliest for women in the same age group, trailing only behind breast cancer, according to recent data from the American Cancer Society.

Dr. William Dahut, chief scientific officer at the American Cancer Society, points out that younger individuals are often diagnosed at later, more aggressive stages, contributing to the changes in mortality rates.

The reasons behind the rise in colorectal cancer among younger adults remain unclear. Some experts suggest factors such as increasing obesity rates, sedentary behavior, and unhealthy diets may play a role. 

However, Dr. Ng raises suspicions about environmental factors affecting microbes or immune systems, noting that many young patients do not fit the traditional risk profile.

Preventative measures include colonoscopy screenings starting at age 45, with earlier screenings recommended for those with a family history of colon cancer. Maintaining a healthy body weight and minimizing red meat intake can also help reduce the risk. 

The report emphasizes the unique challenges faced by young cancer patients, who may be juggling family and careers and are more likely to experience treatment-related side effects.

As colon cancer rates continue to rise in this age group, further research is crucial to understand the underlying causes and develop effective preventive strategies.

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