Colorectal cancer is becoming less common. Experts attribute this to more individuals undergoing frequent colonoscopies, which can detect precancerous polyps before turning cancerous, says a well-known colorectal cancer doctor in Kolkata.

However, the illness is on the rise in those aged 18 to 35, an age group that is still years away from having their first screening colonoscopy. Colorectal cancer screening is not advised for most people until they are 45.

If this trend continues, colon cancer incidence in people under the age of 35 is likely to rise by 90% by 2030, while rectal cancer cases are expected to rise by 124%. Furthermore, around 60% of these young individuals are diagnosed with stage III or IV colon cancer. That implies their cancer will be discovered later when it will be more difficult to cure.

Why is colorectal cancer becoming more common among young adults?

It is still unknown exactly why so many people under the age of 35 are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, says the colon and rectal cancer doctor in Kolkata.

However, it is known that approximately one-third of total colorectal cancer patients in that age bracket have an inherited genetic mutation that generated their cancer. A family history of colorectal cancer or other malignancies indicates that they may be at increased risk of developing this condition. Around 15% to 20% of total colorectal cancer patients are under the age of 35.

So, while it is known that family history and genetics play a role in developing colorectal cancer among these young individuals, it is still not known what causes the illness in the rest of the population. But, experts claim that lifestyle can be a contributing factor in developing this condition.

What colorectal cancer signs should people of all ages be aware of?

Whether you have a family history of cancer or not, you should be knowledgeable about your body and look for colorectal cancer signs, says the colorectal cancer surgeon in Kolkata. Typically the symptoms include:

• Rectal bleeding with or without discomfort

• Blood in the stool or toilet during or following a bowel movement

• A shift in bowel habits

• Bloating, fullness, or cramping

• A change in stool size or form

• Loss of weight for some unknown reason

• Fatigue 

Some of these symptoms may be embarrassing to discuss, but always remember that early diagnosis and treatment increase your chance of a favorable prognosis. So, you should always discuss freely with your doctor about the symptoms that you are encountering. If you experience any of these symptoms or suspect you have a hereditary risk of colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about it and get tested, says the colorectal cancer doctor in Kolkata.