(NBC) – Many younger patients with colon cancer were initially diagnosed, which often leads to the discovery of the disease at an advanced stage. doctors before the correct diagnosis, according to the results of the study, were presented on Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Cancer Research Association. "We need to raise awareness that colorectal cancer affects not only elderly people but also younger people," said Ronith Yardon, director of medical affairs at the Alliance for Colorectal Cancer, a Washington-based patient advocacy organization . "Of all the different types of cancer, colon cancer is one of the most preventable, and if diagnosed and then discovered at a later stage, one of the most deadly. We need this information to get to both patients and doctors. "The biggest problem," said Yarden, "is that many patients and doctors still think that colon cancer is not found in young people.
And this is especially important as colorectal cancer increases in younger adults
Between 2009 and 201
For the new study, Yarden and her colleagues reached via the social media sites of the organization to young patients and survivors to learn more about the difficulties in diagnosing patients
From 1,115 people who completed the studies, 57% that they were diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 49, 33% were diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 39 years. and about 10% were diagnosed before the age of 30.
Why does a young person even think that the symptoms they are experiencing will be related to colon cancer? Colorectal cancer is often considered a disease in older people.
At least 63% postpone until one year after having experienced symptoms before going to a doctor because they do not suspect colon cancer. More than two-thirds of patients have seen at least two doctors before they are diagnosed accurately. Some had to go with up to four doctors. Other key findings: 71% were diagnosed in stage III or IV, as opposed to patients over 50 years of age, most of whom were diagnosed in stage I or stage II.
67% have seen at least two doctors before being properly diagnosed, and some have seen four.
Many patients had major risk factors for colon cancer, including 30% who had a family history of the disease and 8% who had Lynch syndrome
Part of the problem for both doctors for patients it is that the symptoms can be unclear and suggest a number of other conditions, "said Yarden. However, if a person experiences more than one symptom, it should sound an alarm signal
EARLY WARNING SYMPTOMS
Patients in the study had symptoms typical of colon cancer, said Yarden. – About 40% had bleeding in the stools
– About 40% had swollen stomachs and many abdominal pains
30% had fatigue, although they were young and active. 19659004] The new study highlights the need for colorectal cancer education that begins with young people, said Dr. Felice Schol-Susman, a gastroenterologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine. "It is sad, but not surprising, that many patients who developed colon cancer before the age of 50 were originally diagnosed," Schnoll-Sussman said in an e-mail. "First, why would a young man even think the symptoms they are experiencing would be related to colon cancer?" Colorectal cancer is often considered a disease in the elderly. As a result, they may not be presented to a doctor until they have had symptoms for some time and subsequently risk being diagnosed at a later less treatable stage. "
Checking the Blood
Not only the patients should of course understand that young people can develop colon cancer, says Schol-Sussman. "Doctors should be able to have colorectal cancer in younger patients more on their radar screen," she told NBC News.
Young people should be more attentive to their symptoms, especially with the appearance of blood, said gastroenterologist Dr. Thomas Imperial, investigator at the Regenstrief institute. "People should look at their stools and toilet paper for blood," he said.
Doctors have to ask more questions when a new patient enters, said Imperial. "They should ask for the symptoms, including whether the patient has ever seen blood on the toilet paper," he added. "The provider should also have a good family history for all types of cancer."
These guidelines require people to start receiving some kind of cancer screening at age 50. Imperial does not support the reduction in screening age for colon cancer, as this may lead to more invasive colonoscopies in an age group that has a low risk of cancer. Colonoscopies are not completely benign, says Imperiale, noting that the procedure is associated with a number of serious complications including colon perforation in one in 1000 patients.