March 2017

Increasing Rate of Colon Cancer in Younger Adults

 The American Cancer Society recently announced the results of their study which showed colorectal cancer rates have dramatically increased among younger adults, those born between 1960 and 1980 (Generation X) and those born between 1980’s to 2000’s (Millennials).  According to Rebecca Siegel MPH from the American Cancer Society, “individuals born in 1990 now have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to people born around 1950”.

Ms Siegel attributes the increase to unhealthy lifestyle changes, such as the obesity epidemic, sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diets. Also, younger people are much more likely to be uninsured and to put off having preventative service, such as a screening colonoscopy. The possible appeal of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare may further exacerbate the problem, with more younger adults potentially becoming uninsured and unscreened.

The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute still recommend that screening should start at age 50 for average-risk individuals and at age 40 for those with a family history of colon-rectal cancer  or adenomas in a first degree relative. 

Presently, colorectal cancer screening remains on the list of Preventative Health initiatives developed by the Federal Government each year.   Your insurance carrier may not cost shift any portion of their allowed cost (copays, co-insurance or deductibles) for a screening colonoscopy to their subscribers.  If you do not have health insurance, you may be eligible for free screening through the New York State Department of Health. For more information please call 1-866-442-CANCER (2262).

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