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Doctors say Colorectal Cancer Becoming More Common and Impacting Younger Adults

Publication: KVII-TV (ABC, Amarillo)

While it may not be the most publicized form of the disease, colorectal cancer is becoming more and more common and is happening to younger adults.

Texas Oncology Colorectal Surgeon Dr. Rachel Weinheimer said that is why they are testing at age 45 now.

"Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Rates of Colorectal cancer has risen dramatically in the patient population under 50 years old and studies have shown that by 2030, colorectal cancer will be the most common cause of [cancer] death in patients both men and women under the age of 50," Weinheimer said.

Dr. Weinheimer said because of this, getting tested is vital to survival.

"Early detection is the key to cure in colon cancer. It is absolutely essential that people begin screening because when you find a colorectal cancer early meaning stage one or stage 2 there is an over 90 percent chance that you will be alive in five years," said Weinheimer. "Patients who are found to have a colorectal cancer at the later stages do not have nearly the opportunity for treatment or for a cure."

While many patients are symptom-free, there are some signs you could have a form of colon cancer.

"Those would be rectal bleeding, new-onset abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss. All of these would indicate the patient should seek medical advice," Weinheimer said.

Many have a belief the procedure is painful or embarrassing. Weinheimer said it is worth it.

"If you can get through the prep which is a night of somewhat uncomfortably cleaning out your colon and get through the procedure the next day which really is typically performed with very mild sedation, patients don’t experience any sort of pain or discomfort and they go home the same day after the procedure," said Weinheimer. "So, if you can get through the procedures, it can save your life."

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