March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Jun 4, 2019

Millennials, young Hispanics at higher risk than parents
Doctors stress importance of education and screenings

(San Antonio, TX, March 5, 2018) – Millennials (those between the ages of 18 to 34) are among the most educated generation in American history and this year are ranked as having the most spending power of any generation. San Antonio recently saw the greatest increase in its millennial population out of all other U.S. metropolitan areas. But these leaders’ bright futures are clouded by one of the nation’s second-most deadly form of cancer – colorectal cancer.

Studies by the American Cancer Society found that although colon cancer rates declined for those over 50, they have risen by 1 to 2 percent per year for those ages 20 to 39.

Antonio Serna, M.D., a gastroenterologist with Baptist Health System in San Antonio, said these trends are a sobering reminder that education and screenings are important for all ages. “Studies indicate that those younger than 55 are also nearly 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage disease than their older counterparts,” he said. Dr. Serna also points out that modern diets include highly processed foods and those with high glycemic levels and carbohydrates. These along with a sedentary lifestyle contribute to obesity, which is a risk factor for developing colorectal cancer.

“No matter your age, everyone should be aware of signs and symptoms,” Dr. Serna said. “Screenings are important to detect problems, such as precancerous polyps, early on and intervene before these become deadly. A healthy future for all generations depends on many factors.” he said. The American Cancer Society reports they have traditionally recommended testing at age 50 for most people, but are now proposing that screenings be considered sooner.

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