Cancer is one of the worst things imaginable for the human body to go through, but it seems that Millennials and Gen-Xers are seeing a rise in at least two forms of it in worrisome numbers. The two major generations are known for different lifestyle choices in comparison to other generations. There is a hope that we’re entering a healthier generation, but on the other side, it is the complete opposite.
There are people with diets that are becoming a major issue for them, but moreover, these eating habits are possibly causing them to develop cancer. According to Eurekalert, a case study was conducted by American Cancer Society scientists. Their study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute interestingly as well. The study found that surprisingly colon and rectal cancer is on the rise.
The study compared those born around 1950 when colorectal cancer was at its lowest and then compared it to those born in 1990. The study finds that people born in the 90s have double the risk of colon cancer and a surprising quadruple the risk of rectal cancer. Essentially, this means people don’t know how to avoid getting cancer in these areas.
The study found that “colorectal cancer…incidence rates are rising in young and middle-aged adults, including people in their early 50s, with rectal cancer rates increasing particularly fast. As a result, three in ten rectal cancer diagnoses are now in patients younger than age 55.”
This means two generations are being affected, and those following could be in danger just as well if things continue down this particular path.
Rebecca Siegel, MPH of the American Cancer Society said the following in regard to the results.
“Trends in young people are a bellwether for the future disease burden. Our finding that colorectal cancer risk for millennials has escalated back to the level of those born in the late 1800s is very sobering. Educational campaigns are needed to alert clinicians and the general public about this increase to help reduce delays in diagnosis, which are so prevalent in young people, but also to encourage healthier eating and more active lifestyles to try to reverse this trend.”
Seeing anything, especially any disease, go back to the 1800s is absolutely horrifying. The issue that makes things so terrible is that people are comparing it to an 1800s problem. In this time period, we were involved in the Industrial Revolution overseas, which resulted in major pollution in the air and foods not being completely stored well. Various medications, such as key antibiotics, had not been created yet.
This was a time period that it made sense for diseases, such as cancer, to be high. The fact that these two cancers are becoming a problem comparable to that time period in history is terrible. Thankfully, eating right can help people out, and there have been many cases of colon cancer being caused by a high diet of red meat.
The study found that among those in the 20 to 39 age group, from the mid-1980s through 2013, colon cancer incidence rates increased by 1 percent to 2 percent per year. Meanwhile, those in the 40 to 54 range, from the mid-1990s through 2013, colon cancer rates increased by 0.5 percent to 1 percent per year and rectal cancer rates increased by 2 percent per year.
Either way, rates saw a rise. The New York Times claims that “the American Cancer Society estimates about 13,500 new cases of colon and rectal cancers will be diagnosed in Americans under 50 this year, with more than 95,500 cases of colon cancer and nearly 40,000 cases of rectal cancer in all age groups.”
The study found that as far as rectal cancer goes, this particular cancer saw its rates increase incredibly fast. This has now led to three in 10 rectal cancer cases in patients younger than age 55. This means that a cancer once considered to be a disease people would suffer later is life is massively affecting a young generation. Both cancer and rectal cancer could end up being one of the most common cancers that no one ever expected to see, and it’s happening mostly due to lifestyle choices.
This could be stopped by shifting a diet even slightly, such as having red meat a few times a week and not every day. Obviously, exercise helps, but even small diet changes can really affect this version of cancer. Doctors also recommend screenings and to get checked earlier than recommended. As of now, doctors recommend colonoscopies from 50 and beyond. However, if they are done at 30 and beyond, this could help in catching the cancer much earlier.
[Featured Image by Diane Bondareff/AP Images]