Josh Stutts is two decades younger than the average patient who gets a screening for colorectal cancer. But he wanted to have it done anyway. "I just recently turned 30 this year. So I knew it was more time to think like an adult. And be considerate of my own health," says Stutts. A new study suggests more people, like Stutts, should get screened at a younger age. Rates of colorectal cancer are rising among adults under the age of 55.
"Part of why we're seeing more of it is we have a diet very high in fats and a diet with not enough fiber," says Ashley Lemere, a general surgeon CHI St. Alexius Health-Williston.
Factors like diet and family history can increase your risk for colorectal cancer. Those risk factors help determine when you should start getting screened.
"Every study that comes out needs to be taken with a grain of salt. And I think whether or not you have any concerns, should be brought up with your doctor so you and your physician will have a discussion about what your personal risk factors are," says Lemere.
The colonoscopy Stutts had revealed a polyp. While it was noncancerous, he will need to have another screening done in five years.
"I think it was a good choice to do that. Because like I said, for me , it's never too early to start looking at that," says Stutts. "And you begin to look at other aspects of your life. And say, well, I started with the colonoscopy. Maybe I should start looking at other things."
Early screenings have many benefits. Early detection makes colorectal cancer easier to treat. And in some cases, the early detection and removal of polyps can prevent colorectal cancer altogether.
Brooke Williams Reporting