Colorectal cancer symptoms amid alarming rise in cases among young people
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Colorectal cancer symptoms amid alarming rise in cases among young people

Experts have explained two reasons for the increase in colorectal cancer cases among young people and listed the symptoms to look out for to detect the disease early. An additional 100 people are diagnosed with the disease every day, and scientists say this is due to changes in diet and lifestyle, as well as genetic factors.

In particular, there has been an increase in the amount of processed food consumed, as well as less physical activity, which is now the norm. Warning symptoms of colon cancer include bleeding, bloating, unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain and unusual changes in stool consistency – unusual diarrhea or constipation – reports The Mirror.

Speaking to MailOnline, Dr Haney Youssef, who specializes in bowel cancer and works as a colorectal surgeon at Harborne Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK, said: ‘The modern diet, particularly in Western countries, is characterized by a significant increase in the consumption of processed and processed foods. fast food. They often contain a lot of unhealthy fats, sugars and additives, and at the same time they contain little fiber. A diet low in fiber and high in processed foods may contribute to the development of colon cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK (CRUK), fiber helps keep the body functioning properly, which means harmful chemicals can pass through the gut.

It is most widely known that meats processed by curing, smoking or salting, such as sausages, bacon, salami, chorizo, ham and hot dogs, increase the risk of cancer. This is often done by adding chemical preservatives such as nitrates, which can turn into N-nitroso chemicals during digestion, which in turn damage the intestines.

Another factor may be an increase in sedentary lifestyle – according to CRUK, the more active you are, the lower your risk of bowel cancer. Dr Youssef said: “With the development of digital technology and changes in work and leisure, a sedentary lifestyle is becoming more common.

“Many young people spend long hours sitting, whether at a desk, in front of a computer or using mobile devices. Physical inactivity is a known risk factor for colon cancer, as regular exercise helps maintain a healthy digestive system and overall good health. -existence.”

Staying active strengthens your immune system, making it more effective at fighting cells that can turn into cancer, says CRUK. Dr. Youssef explains: “Obesity rates are rising around the world, and younger age groups are not immune to this trend.

“Excess body fat can lead to inflammation and changes in hormone levels, which can promote the development of cancer. The rising prevalence of obesity among younger people is a contributing factor to the increased incidence of colorectal cancer in this demographic.”

Being overweight causes an increase in the level of growth hormones in the body, which leads to more frequent cell division and increases the risk of cancer cells forming, thus increasing the risk of developing the disease. Additionally, immune cells accumulate in areas with a high concentration of fat cells, causing increased inflammation and faster cell division in these areas.

Although you can’t control genetic factors, they also play a role in your risk of disease. It’s not just about diet and exercise; genetics may also increase susceptibility to the disease.

Dr Youssef said: ‘Research has not shown a clear link between genetics and the increased diagnosis, however the fact that a first-degree relative under the age of 50 had bowel cancer may suggest a higher risk in younger people.’

He continued: “Although most cases of colorectal cancer are sporadic, some younger patients may have a genetic predisposition to the disease. Conditions such as Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) significantly increase the risk of colorectal cancer in young people. however, this only accounts for five percent of all colorectal cancer cases.”

Dr Youssef added: “Younger people are more aware of the importance of seeking medical advice for symptoms such as persistent changes in bowel habits and rectal bleeding. As a result, this could have a knock-on effect on the number of younger people diagnosed. “

He said: “Symptoms such as abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits and rectal bleeding can be attributed to less serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or haemorrhoids. For a small minority, this delay in making an accurate diagnosis allows the cancer to disappear. to more advanced stages before it is detected, taking into account controllable factors such as eating habits, promoting physical activity and managing obesity, individuals can help reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer.”