Colon cancer growing danger for particular age group, San Antonio doctor says

SAN ANTONIO – It’s one of the deadliest cancers in America. But do you know the signs of colorectal cancer?

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month; the American Cancer Society estimates that 53,000 Americans will die from it in 2024.

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second deadliest per the American Cancer Society, but doctors say it’s also one of the most preventable.

“Essentially, a 20-25 minute exam can be life-saving; I mean, who can argue with that?” said Doctor Ronaldo Saenz with Methodist Hospital. “We know that if they would have had the colonoscopy, there is a real good chance that we could have caught this at the growth stage,”

Saenz recommends a screening age of 45. He adds that it used to be 50, but he believes the age will continue to drop.

“That group 20-49 age we’ve seen significant amounts, it’s essentially almost doubled with regards to colon cancer and quadruple with regards to rectal cancer,” Saenz said.

Saenz explains that regardless of age, if a person is experiencing rectal bleeding, consistent changes in bowel habits, or abdominal pain, they should see a doctor. He also recommends people be aware of colorectal cancer history in immediate family members.

“Say dad had colon cancer at 40; all the kids should be getting screened at the age of 30,” Saenz said.

Saenz says a healthy lifestyle and a good diet can go a long way.

He advises eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and says fiber is key; he recommends 25-30 grams of fiber for women daily and 30-35 grams for men.

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