24 Apr Bowel cancer in young people – 2500 diagnosed each year
Bowel cancer is significantly more common in older people. In fact, over 90 percent of cases relate to over 50 year olds and 80 percent of total cases relate to over 60 year olds. However, every year 2,500 young people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, and this number is growing, predominantly due to lack of awareness and a delay in getting the necessary screening tests.
Raising awareness about bowel cancer
April is Bowel Cancer Awareness month, where organisations, charities, medical centres and doctors around the world go the extra mile in raising the awareness about bowel cancer.
Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, and the fourth most common cancer.
Most people that are affected are over 50, however, each year a growing number of young people are diagnosed with this disease.
Bowel cancer is actually a very curable cancer, if it is caught in the early stages of development.
With more emphasis given to understanding related symptoms, and seeking advice from specialists when required, lives can be saved from prompt diagnosis.
Bowel cancer in young people
The number of young people, under the age of 50 that are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year is growing. Some of the reasons for this include:
Lack of awareness
Young people assume that bowel cancer is not something that would affect them until they are much older. Symptoms can be good indicators of the disease but sometimes bowel cancer can be prevalent without any symptoms at all. More guidance needs to be given to young people to know what to look out for.
Read more: Bowel Cancer Symptoms
Delay in diagnosis
Many younger patients report having to visit their GP many times, before being referred for the vital diagnosis tests, the most effective being the colonoscopy.
Sometimes the patient has to speak to the GP more than five times, before a referral takes place.
Whilst bowel cancer does tend to grow slowly over many years, depending on the case, some cancers may be more aggressive. Also, you don’t know how long the cancer has been developing so seeking early diagnosis is absolutely critical.
Read more: Bowel Cancer Screening
No access to genetic testing
Bowel cancer is more common if you have a family history of the disease.
Lynch syndrome is a genetic condition that can result in developing bowel cancer, often at a younger age. Genetic testing for Lynch syndrome can be arranged but many GP’s fail to do so.
Regular colonoscopy examinations will also help to prevent bowel cancer as any early signs can be detected at a time when treatment is invariably almost 100 percent successful.
Read more: Colon Cancer Survival Rate
Never Too Young
Never Too Young is a campaign ran by Bowel Cancer UK to raise awareness for young people when it comes to bowel cancer.
They are working towards:
- Improved clinical guidance relating to bowel cancer in younger people
- Improved identification of people with genetic conditions and access to regular screening
- Improved awareness for younger people regarding bowel cancer symptoms
FOR HELP AND GUIDANCE ON DIGESTIVE DISORDERS AND TREATMENT FROM AN EXPERIENCED GASTROENTEROLOGIST, CONTACT DR ANTON BUNGAY.