The Gut Health Blog

The Shifting Trends in Colorectal Cancer Demographics

Dec 20, 2023

Preventative Strategies for Younger Generations

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide. It affects both men and women. Over the past few decades, there has been a shift in the demographics of those involved. Historically, the disease was more prevalent in older populations. Now, we are seeing it in younger individuals. As a gastroenterologist, I am responsible for raising awareness of this. I want to share preventative strategies for the younger generation.

New Recommended Age for Colorectal Cancer Screening

The American Cancer Society recently changed the recommendation for colorectal cancer screening. Now, they recommend screening to start at age 45. (Note that this is for individuals who are at average risk.) This is a significant shift from the previous recommendation of age 50. This change reflects the increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in younger populations. Some people may think 45 is too young to start screening. It’s important to remember that prevention is critical. Catching colorectal cancer early, when it is most treatable, can save lives. This means we need to start screenings earlier and younger.

The Contributing Factors: Lifestyle and Sedentary Behavior

The main contributing factor to colorectal cancer? Your lifestyle. Our diets and lack of physical activity significantly affect our health. Research has shown that a plant-based diet is beneficial. It can lower the risk of developing colorectal cancer. It can reduce inflammation. It also has protective effects against colorectal cancer.

Another lifestyle factor contributing to colorectal cancer in younger populations is sedentary behavior. Get moving! Regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. I encourage incorporating 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine. This can be through exercise, walking, or other activities.

Family History

If you do have a family history of colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor. They can give you a timeline of when you should start screening. People with inflammatory bowel disease are also at increased risk for colorectal cancer. Patients with IBD should also work with their doctors. This is necessary to develop a preventative plan tailored to their specific needs.

Take Charge, One Small Step at a Time

As a gastroenterologist, I am passionate about sharing my knowledge on this topic. I want to share preventative strategies to reduce colorectal cancer. The shift towards younger populations with the disease is alarming. It highlights the need for early detection. We can take charge of our health by taking small steps in the right direction. Try incorporating a plant-based diet and maintaining regular physical activity. These two small changes can make a big difference in the long run. Remember, prevention is critical. It’s never too early to start taking our health seriously. Let us work together to shift the trends in colorectal cancer. We need to protect the health of younger generations.


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