There is an athlete named John, 28 years old, who is also a runner in a couple of events like the NYC marathon. One day, he was supposed to begin his training for the next event he is looking forward to but his body is so exhausted to train even though he didn’t even started. When he was at the gym, John complained of abdominal pain and his trainer, as John was also feeling exhausted, thought it was only because of dehydration. John started to drink lots of water and men’s health supplements and eat more fruits and vegetables but the pain in his abdomen persist.
He went to his primary care physician to check what is happening inside his abdomen. The doctor advised to eat fiber rich food and suspected irritable bowel syndrome. But John got alarmed when he saw blood in his stools. John came back to his physician and was advised to take colonoscopy, a medical procedure which inserts a tube equipped with a camera to your body to observe the status of your colon. To their surprise, they diagnosed him with colon cancer and the disease is already the size of a golf ball blocking his digestive canal. John underwent surgery to remove the cancer and he’s taking chemotherapy as some cancer cells migrated to his liver.
It might surprise you that a healthy young man was diagnosed with colon cancer, but now it is usual to this age group. Although they have smaller risks compared to older individuals, men younger than 50 years have increasing cases of colon cancer, particularly in the rectum, the end part of the colon. In a recent study, it was concluded that the peak of this disease is found between ages 20 to 29.
suppWhat’s the Source?
Why is this going on? It is not well known the causes of young-onset colorectal cancer. Many think the increase is due to risk factors like obesity and diabetes. Some suggest that a difference in the microbiome (the special bacterial blend that exists in our bodies) or antibiotic use and dietary choices may be correlated with it. We really don’t know the cause. But this topic is now being focused on a lot of research.
What is the key to staying healthy? Listening to your body is so necessary. If something is “wrong,” and you need to get checked out if your signs just don’t go away. Visit with any questions with your primary care doctor. Younger patients are usually not treated in a timely manner and face treatment at a later, less treatable level. It’s not healthy, but not shocking either. Why would a young man think he’s got something like colon cancer going on really serious? This often leads in the first place to a pause in going to the doctor. This prejudice was also retained by physicians. In our radar screen, we all need the risk of colorectal cancer in younger people.
Although overall rates of colorectal cancer have declined in recent years due to widespread use of screening tests such as colonoscopies, these screening tests were not deemed feasible for a younger population.
I still say that out of shame or humiliation no one should ever die. Signs to your doctor should include:
- Change in bowel habits – like the latest occurrence of vomiting constipation.
- Blood in the mountain.
- Pain in the belly.
- Unexplained loss of weight
While the chance of these signs not reflecting anything severe in young men is really high, we all need to be aware of the possibility of colon cancer.