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Colorectal Surgeon Urges Young Adults to Heed Red Flags

Nationally, the rate of colorectal cancer in younger patients is increasing, so screening can be critical.

John Monson, MD, colorectal surgeon and executive medical director of the digestive health and surgery institute at AdventHealth Central Florida, recently spoke about a national trend of increased rates in colorectal cancer in younger patients.

Colorectal cancer is the third deadliest cancer for men and women in the United States and is increasing among younger individuals, according to a recent study by the American Cancer Society.

"The problem with colorectal cancer – the outcome, the treatment, and the survival are totally dependent on the stage at the time of diagnosis. Stage one cancer is almost 100% curable, and stage four cancer is most certainly nothing like that," Dr. Monson said.

Dr. Monson encourages those in their 20s, 30s and 40s not to ignore red flags such as weeks of rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, or unexplained weight loss. Instead, get screened.

"If there is no underlying disease, as far as they're aware, they're perfectly fit and healthy with no symptoms, 45 is fine (to get screened)," Dr. Monson said. "But if you develop symptoms, any of the symptoms mentioned … all bets are off at that point."

Other factors, such as family history and lifestyle choices seem to play a part in driving the younger trend as well. To learn more, read the article by Joe Mario Pedersen, a reporter for WMFE, Central Florida’s NPR station.

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