Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among both men and women in California. For men, only lung and prostate cancer are more prominent, and for women, they most common types are lung and breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone be regularly screened for colorectal cancer starting at age 45 while other health organizations say age 50. This is important because more young people are being diagnosed with the cancer.
Median age of colorectal cancer patients
The American Cancer Society says that people diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 1989 had a median age of 72. The age declined to 66 in 2016. Additionally, while fewer people 65 and older are being diagnosed with it, the same cannot be said for those under 50. An upward trend has been seen with younger individuals since the 1990s.
Factors and potential obstacles to treatment
Researchers cannot adequately explain the trend, but they say that diet is one factor in the risk for colorectal cancer. Some researchers are looking into how certain drugs, such as antibiotics, influence intestinal health.
Of the 147,950 people who are projected to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2020, an estimated 17,930 will be under 50. Treating younger adults with colorectal cancer poses some challenges, such as the need for patients to have their fertility and sexual function preserved.
When diagnostic errors harm patients
There are times when younger colorectal cancer patients may be misdiagnosed entirely through the fault of the doctor. Whether through misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, errors can lead to the wrong treatments and the worsening of the patient’s condition. Under medical malpractice law, such patients are entitled to compensation. If you’re in a similar situation, you may want a lawyer to assist with your claim. Negotiations can be difficult, but the lawyer may handle all of it on your behalf.