As our staff mourns the loss of actor Chadwick Boseman, it reminds us of the importance of our mission to keep fighting colorectal cancer.
For many, Mr. Boseman's passing comes especially hard. He became a cultural icon as he portrayed massive roles as Black Panther, Jackie Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall. We wish the best for his family during this difficult time.
We want to stress the extreme importance of colonoscopies and open communication with your doctor- because colon cancer can be treated when detected early enough. It's worth discussing so that you are armed with the best information as you continue to navigate your healthcare.
Too Young For Colon Cancer
I’m too young to worry about colon cancer! In the past, most doctors would have agreed that worrying about colon cancer before the age of 50 was unnecessary. But an alarming change in colon cancer demographics has been occurring over the last decade and researchers are warning that it is only going to get worse.
Cases of colorectal cancers in patients under 50 have increased at least 17% over the last decade. According to one study, researchers estimate that the colon cancer incidence rate in patients ages 20-34 will rise 90% in the next 15 years. Let that number sink in for a minute. Because of the near-certainty of this trend, some doctors are pushing to have the screening age drop from 45 to 30 years of age.
If you are under 50 and are having symptoms of colorectal cancer, insist on a screening. If your doctor doesn’t think you need one - go directly to a gastroenterologist and make an appointment. If you have a strong family history ask if you should be screened for Lynch Syndrome - a genetic condition that makes you susceptible to developing cancers.
Possible Symptoms of Colon Cancer
If you have or experience any of the following symptoms, discuss them with your doctor:
parent, sibling, or child with colorectal cancers
multiple generations with cancers, particularly colon, endometrium, small intestine, ureter or renal pelvis
change in bowel habits that last more than a few days, particularly a narrowing of the stool
blood in the stool, a sudden dark stool may also indicate blood
unexplained weight loss
abdominal pain and cramping
None of these conditions or symptoms signify anything as serious as cancer on their own, but they are important factors to pay attention to. Often, there are no early warning signs or symptoms for polyps or colon cancer, making actual screenings all the more important.
Meet With A GI Specialist
Remember, insurance guidelines are only generalities and you are never too young for colon cancer. GI Associates in Jackson, Mississippi is an open-access clinic - meaning you do not need a referral from your primary care physician to request an appointment. If you are concerned about your health and would like to be screened, call and discuss your symptoms with one of our caring gastroenterologists.