Are you at risk of early-onset colon cancer? Specialist in Brooklyn NY offers effective preventive services
Since the early 1990s, the number of colon and rectal cancer cases among people younger than age 50 has doubled, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting. Studies suggest that colorectal cancers in young patients are being detected at later stages when they’re harder to treat.
Colon Cancer Services in Brooklyn NY at Atlantic Gastroenterology are focused on checking for abnormalities as a preventive measure, and on removing polyps that can turn into malignant tumors. While doctors generally recommend that you are screened regularly for colon cancer starting at the age of 50, board-certified gastroenterologist Dr. Alexander Shapsis emphasizes that these general guidelines are relevant to patients with an average risk of developing colorectal cancers. He may recommend cancer screening, such as a colonoscopy, earlier than aged 50 if you have factors that increase your risk of developing this type of cancer. These risk factors include:
- A fatty, meat-based and low-fiber diet – The incidence of colon cancer is higher in Western countries than in Asian countries. Studies have implicated the “Western diet,” rich in processed, high-calorie meats, in the heightened risk of developing these cancers.
- Obesity – Obese patients are more likely to develop and to succumb to colon cancer versus healthy, normal-weight patients. In fact, studies have linked the increased rates of obesity to the increased rates of early-onset colon cancer. Associated lifestyle factors that contribute to obesity also contribute to the onset of cancer, such as a lack of exercise and regular physical activity.
- Family history – Do you know of a blood relative with colon cancer? If so, you are at heightened risk of developing the disease. If more than one member of your family has had cancer, your risk is even greater.
Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and chronic diseases that inflame the colon (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s) represent other risk factors and may make you a good candidate for colon cancer screening – even if you’re not a 50-something. It’s also important to not wait for symptoms to appear before reaching out to Dr. Shapsis and the team at Atlantic Gastroenterology; some types of colon tumors don’t present with symptoms until after the cancer has progressed for some time.
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