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Even though screenings for colon cancer aren’t recommended for those under the age of 50, new research shows that the number of diagnosed cases in people under 50 are significantly on the rise. Based on current trends, researchers from the MD Anderson Cancer Center predict that by 2030 the incidence rates among people ages 20-34 will increase by 90%.

Marvin Arrivillaga is a perfect example. Marvin was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 36. He was only given 6 months to live, but has beat the odds and is now a year past his diagnosis. Chemo treatments are still ongoing for Marvin, and he is on a mission to help people understand when to talk to their doctor about early screening. "Get tested. A colonoscopy might be uncomfortable for five minutes but believe me, dealing with cancer for life is a little harder," he said.

What should people under the age of 50 look for as it relates to an early screening? Dr. Richard Wender from the American Cancer Society says there are things young people can do to lower their risk for developing colon cancer or to catch it early.

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight. Colon cancer is more prevalent in obese people, so managing your weight is vital. Eat healthier foods (fruits and vegetables) and avoid sugary foods. Eat less red meat and be sure to get regular physical activity.  
  • Find out your family history. It’s important to know if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with colon cancer or had polyps removed.
  • Pay attention to symptoms. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about blood in your stool, rectal bleeding, or change in bowel movements.

If you have any concerns, please contact the doctors at Associates in Digestive Health. We are here to help you live your most healthy life!