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4 March, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 4 March, 2019 12:15:59 AM
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Colon cancer usually diagnosed late in under-50 adults

Colon cancer usually 
diagnosed late in 
under-50 adults

Young adults are increasingly developing colon cancer -- and it's often diagnosed at a late stage, after they've seen several doctors and been misdiagnosed, a new survey shows. Researchers questioned nearly 1,200 colon cancer patients diagnosed before age 50. Most cases were correctly identified only after the cancer was more advanced. In fact, about two-thirds waited up to a year to see a doctor after developing symptoms, and then went on to see multiple doctors before receiving the right diagnosis.

Many said they were initially misdiagnosed with conditions like hemorrhoids or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). bExperts said the findings are not surprising. Symptoms of colon cancer -- such as fatigue, constipation and rectal bleeding -- can be caused by many noncancerous conditions that are much more common in younger adults.

"For young people, the possibility of colon cancer wouldn't be high on their list," said lead researcher Ronit Yarden.

It's also reasonable for doctors to first suspect conditions like hemorrhoids or IBS, said Yarden, who directs medical affairs for the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, a Washington, DC-based patient advocacy group.

But, she said, it's critical that doctors and patients alike be aware that colon cancer can strike young people.

And it's becoming more common, Yarden stressed. Since the 1990s, colon cancer rates have risen by 0.5 to 2 per cent a year among Americans younger than 55, according to the American Cancer Society. Also, rectal cancer has shown a slightly faster increase ever since the 1970s.

Last year, the cancer society changed its guidelines on colon cancer screening for people at average risk. It now advises screening starting at age 45, instead of 50.

Around the same time, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City opened a center for colon cancer patients younger than 50. One goal is to research the reasons for the rising incidence, said Dr. Robin Mendelsohn, who co-directs the programme.

Obesity and type 2 diabetes are risk factors for colon cancer, said Mendelsohn. So in theory, rising rates of those conditions among young Americans could be one driving force.

But that's unlikely to be the whole explanation. According to Mendelsohn, her center sees plenty of young patients who are normal-weight, have no medical conditions and lead healthy lifestyles.

"Right now, the reasons are unclear," she said.

Mendelsohn was not surprised that many survey respondents waited to see a doctor for their symptoms, or that other diagnoses were often made first.

In her experience with young colon cancer patients, she said, rectal bleeding is usually the symptom that first got them to see their doctor. Even when there's bleeding, Mendelsohn noted, noncancerous conditions, like hemorrhoids, are more likely to be the cause.

"But if that bleeding persists for a couple weeks after the visit, patients should go back for further evaluation," Mendelsohn said.

The survey findings are based on 1,195 colon cancer patients who were diagnosed before their 50th birthday. The majority were in their 40s, but one-third were in their 30s, and 10 per cent were even younger.

                                                                          

 HealthDay

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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