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Colon Cancer's Victims Are Not Old Anymore

Update Date: Jan 26, 2016 10:19 AM EST
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Overturning the notion that colon cancer is a disease of the old, a new study claims that one in seven in the US being diagnosed with the disease is younger than 50 years, when the mandatory screening begins.

According to Fox News which reported the findings, younger people tend to have more aggressive tumors but also had better outcomes with increased survival odds at all stages. The study was based on data obtained from cancer registries dating between 1998 and 2011. Of the 258,000 colon cancer patients whose data was analyzed, 37,487 were diagnosed before they turned 50.

"To put this in context, breast cancer screening often begins at age 40, and less than 5 percent of invasive breast cancers occur in women under that age. Our study found that about 15 percent of colorectal cancers are diagnosed before the screening age of 50," study author Samantha Hendren of University of Michigan Medical School, said.

The study adds to the discussion if the screening age for colon cancer should be lowered.

A second study found annual stool testing was just as effective as colonoscopy in detecting colon cancers. Health Day reports that the study found annual fecal tests were effective to 85 percent during the first year.

Screening for colon cancer currently involves colonoscopy for people who 50 or older. It is performed every 10 years. It is a procedure that many dread and seek to avoid given that it is invasive. Researchers, who found the fecal test effective root for its inclusion in screening program, to be offered as an option to those who do not want to undergo colonoscopy.

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