5 Surprising Facts about Colon Cancer

Here are five things you might not know about colon cancer.

Young people can get it. Colon cancer is most commonly found in people over 45 years of age. In fact, 90% of new colon cancer cases are found in people who are over 50 years old. However, colon cancer can develop in young people as well. According to findings by the American Cancer Society, the rate of colon cancer is actually decreasing in those over 50 years of age, and rising in those under 50 years of age.

While it’s rare for people under 30 years of age to get colon cancer, people can develop polyps as early as in their teenage years. If these polyps aren’t removed, they can become cancerous.

Your diet can can help prevent it. The foods you eat can have an impact on your likelihood of getting colon cancer. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, eat fish regularly, and get your daily recommended amount of fiber. Stay away from excess salt and trans fats, and avoid copious amounts of red meat. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can also lead to colon cancer.

Women are at risk too. People tend to think that colon cancer is something that only men have to worry about, but that’s not the case.  Last year, it was estimated that almost 72,000 men would be diagnosed with colon cancer, but also 65,000 women.

It is common. After lung cancer, colon cancer causes the most cancer-related deaths in the United States. There were an estimated 50,310 deaths from colon and rectal cancer in 2014.

It can be prevented. With regular screenings, colon cancer can be found and removed in its early stages. That’s why it is so important to schedule regular screenings. Colonoscopies allow for visual examination for polyps that can ultimately lead to colon cancer. If you are over the age of 45, you should talk to your healthcare provider about scheduling a screening.