Colon cancer becoming more of a risk for those under 50

Updated: Feb. 26, 2021 at 8:02 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month - a kind of cancer diagnosis that’s now seeming to affect even young people. Actor Chadwick Boseman lost his battle to colon cancer at just 43 years old.

Gastroenterologist from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital Dr. Eric Fontenot hosted a seminar live on Facebook bringing awareness to colon cancer, especially in young people.

“We have multiple societies in this country who have recommended - firmly recommended - 45 is the age that we start colon cancer screening. Now, that being said, we just had to talk about how colon cancer is occurring in younger and younger ages, sometimes patients who are in their 20s and 30s.”

In his seminar, he states, by 2030, nearly a quarter (23 percent) of all rectal cancers diagnosed will be in people younger than 50 years old.

“I’ve had colonoscopies where I’ve taken pre-cancers and in some cases, large precancerous polyps out of patients who were teenagers. So, we live in an area that is at high risk. And so, I think it’s very important to take symptoms seriously and not attributed, you know, gi symptoms to benign entities you. You want to get checked out if you have any issues at all, you know.”

He says if nothing is wrong, that’s not a bad time to get a colonoscopy.

“It’s very important to be screened if you’re eligible to be screened for colon cancer, and that often includes colonoscopy. And it’s even more important to seek medical attention if you do have symptoms. Don’t assume that it’s just hemorrhoids. The perfect time to get a colonoscopy when there’s nothing wrong and whenever you feel great. Because if you wait until you got symptoms, you are two to three times more likely to die from your colon cancer. "

Click HERE to watch the full seminar.

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