Colorectal cancer rates are rising in people under the age of 50—and yet many doctors still believe that this type of cancer doesn’t occur in young people. Indeed, a recent survey suggests that many young people who have colon cancer initially received misdiagnoses and saw multiple doctors before receiving a correct diagnosis.
Since March is colon cancer awareness month, this might be a good time to consider that colorectal diseases are not just for those over 50. Of the 1,195 people involved in the survey:
- Roughly 10 percent were diagnosed prior to turning 30
- Thirty-three percent received a colon cancer diagnosis between ages 30 and 39
- Fifty-seven percent reported diagnoses between 40 and 49
Of those who took part in the survey, 63 percent did not consider their symptoms might be related to colon cancer and did not seek medical attention. However, around 33 percent of the patients surveyed saw two or more doctors before receiving an accurate diagnosis.
Signs and symptoms you might consider
It is normal for the colon to develop polyps. In many cases these are noncancerous. However, sometimes the polyps turn into cancer. Although the polyps may not cause symptoms, you might be wise to watch for:
- Consistent diarrhea or constipation
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain, cramps or gas
- Unexplained weight loss
- Feeling like your bowel does not empty completely
- Blood in your stool
While colorectal cancers are increasing for people under age 55, the medical community may need to evaluate the necessity of colonoscopies for those younger than 50.
The medical community should reconsider screening recommendations
Rather than misdiagnosing numerous people annually due to the perception that colon cancer only affects older adults, preventative screening could allow the medical community to help increase people’s chances of survival.
Considering the increase in colon cancer in younger people, providing earlier options for detecting the disease could decrease the number and intensity of treatments a patient might require. This could also drastically affect medical costs involved with treating an insidious disease.
Holding medical professionals accountable could help in the fight for your life
If you or a loved were misdiagnosed for this disease, you may want to explore your legal options for pursuing financial compensation. There is no guarantee that doing so would restore your health. However, acting now could help you pay for the treatments you will likely need to undergo during your fight against cancer.