Diagnosed with colon cancer before the age of 50? Surely that cannot be possible? How about at the age of 22? Now, that is unheard of! Scientists have seen an increase in colon and rectal cancer diagnosis’ in individuals between the ages of 20-39, and a decrease in individuals ages 50 and a above. The question is, why? Unfortunately, there is no clear reason. Causes that are being questioned range from obesity, lack of fiber in a person’s diet, and what has been reportedly true across every cause of cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV).
At 22 years old, Kirsten Freiborg was two months away from graduating from college when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Complaining of having blood in her stool, her doctors blamed it on an internal hemorrhage. With the persistence of her mother, who was also a registered nurse, Freiborg went under a procedure called a flexible sigmoidoscopy.
“I still remember getting the phone call from the doctor who did the procedure, who was completely shocked, and said ‘I would never have guessed that a 22-year-old would have had cancer,’” said Ms. Freiborg.
This procedure detected a tumor in Freiborg’s colon, which was treated with chemotherapy that has saved Freiborg’s life.
Doctors have slowly started to rely on advanced, screening tests that can detect precancerous polyps that can be removed before any spread of cancer. Cologuard, a non-invasive colon cancer at-home test, will soon change the numbers of colon cancer. This test has advanced technology to detect cancer or pre-cancer in your colon, by using advanced stool DNA technology to find altered levels of DNA, which can be associated with cancer.
With the rise of innovative tests, the younger population still suffers because of the lack of practicality that these tests have to offer them. Doctors hope there will be more innovations in the future to stop the spread of colon cancer among all ages around the world.
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