Younger People Getting Colorectal Cancer

Young Patients With Metastatic Colorectal Cancer are at High Risk of Death

Even when younger patients complain of signs such as anemia or digestive problems, physicians are more likely to attribute these to medical problems other than cancer. Patients, too, have a tendency to wait to visit their doctor because they think the problems will go away or are not significant, are afraid or embarrassed. If patients are showing symptoms, they need to be tested no matter their age, said Dr. Y. Nancy You , a surgical oncologist from Texas. Early detection is important because standard treatments for colorectal cancer can affect the patient for the rest of their lives, and includes, bowel problems such as constipation or diarrhea, decreased sensitivity to touch after chemotherapy, fatigue and other conditions. Younger survivors may also have to deal with side effects such as infertility caused by radiation treatments or other treatments used to fight the cancer. Lowering the recommended age for screening of colorectal cancer may not be the answer, according to Dr. Durado Brooks of the American Cancer Society, because the tests are invasive and it is not cost-effective to test everyone. What researchers can agree on is that patients and physicians need to be better educated about the risk factors and symptoms so that the right individuals are tested. Physicians need to improve their efforts to collect the patients medical and family history, and patients need to do a better job of chronicling their health history and seeing their doctor as soon as symptoms occur. Some physicians are using demographic data, based on current research, to pinpoint patients who may be at a higher risk than others. Patients also need to be educated and encouraged to see a doctor when they have risk factors and a strong family history for colorectal and other cancers. this page