It’s one of the most common cancers for both men and women.
Dr. Lowell Hart, an oncology/hematology physician on the medical staff with Lee Health, says colonoscopies can help catch the disease early. “Colon cancer is a very common cancer for both men and women. It develops in either the colon area, which is anywhere from the appendix down to the rectal area, and it’s very curable if it’s caught early and it’s very devastating if it’s caught late.”
Patients typically aren’t screened for colon cancer until age 50. “It’s something that we really need to try and catch these cancers as early as we can, and try and prevent them if possible,” said Dr. Hart.
Recent studies show people born between 1990 and 2000 have a much higher risk of developing colorectal cancer, although it’s unclear why. “The data from the National Cancer Institute is they may have twice the incidents of colon cancer and maybe four times the incidents of rectal cancer. It is a problem since we’re not recommending screening until age 50. So that may in the future need to change and come up a little bit earlier,” said Dr. Hart. Particularly if patients have a family history or colon cancer or if they’re showing symptoms. “The common symptoms that people need to look for are things like change in bowel habits, blood in the stool, any sort of weight loss or abdominal pain that’s unexplained,” said Dr. Hart.
Doctors say it’s not uncommon for patients to be diagnosed with colon cancer in their 20s and 30s. “There’s a lot of speculation of why we’re seeing more of it in the millennial generation. Perhaps they’re not exercising enough, perhaps they’re eating the wrong kinds of food, or sitting around in front of their computers all day and not being as active,” said Dr. Hart.
Making it important to pay attention to your body and observe any changes that may happen.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.