WASHINGTON, D.C.—The face of colon cancer as we know it is changing. Long considered a cancer for the aging, it is now increasingly diagnosed in younger people. This concerning trend will be a major focus during the Colon Cancer Alliance’s national conference, which will be held in Baltimore, July 20-21.
“Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis Under 50: Trends and Implications for the Future," will offer surprising insights into the growing trend of colon cancer diagnosis for those under 50, shattering the conventional wisdom that 50 years of age is the magical number for when individuals should start being screened, the CCA reported.
“More and more studies are finding that individuals are being diagnosed with colon cancer at younger ages than the benchmark age of 69 years," said Andrew Spiegel, chief executive officer of the Colon Cancer Alliance. “This upward trend has given us a lot to consider for patients and for practitioners. Each day at the Colon Cancer Alliance, we hear from young people who have been shocked by a diagnosis of colon cancer. That’s why this year’s national conference is geared toward providing patients and healthcare professionals with a chance to discuss this new development, build awareness of correctly diagnosing this disease in the new age demographic, and consider actions to lowering the standard screening age."
Lisa Millham, a registered nurse and colon cancer survivor, was diagnosed at age 39 while in nursing school. “I had no family history, no risk factors, and no idea that the symptoms I was experiencing were classic symptoms of colorectal cancer," said Millham. “I was too young. Cancer was the last thing on my mind. Luckily, I was studying the disease in nursing school, otherwise I wouldn't have recognized the symptoms and would have continued to attribute them to something else. My diagnosis would have been delayed and the outcome might not have been as positive."