Colorectal Cancer Up 20% for People Under 50: Brown Alpert Medical School Physician on Prevention

Friday, March 06, 2020

 

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Dr. Steven Schechter, a colorectal surgeon at Brown Surgical Associates and a clinical associate professor of surgery at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University said that colorectal cancer is decreasing for people over 50 — but is going up for younger people. 

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and the American Cancer Society has changed its guidelines for recommended screening age, which used to be 50 — it is now recommended to start at 45 because the cases in younger patients have increased.

“Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer in the United States and the American Cancer Society gave us some good news a couple of years ago, that the incidence is decreasing for people over 50 because of the success of colon cancer screening but for people under 50, the incidence has increased about 20%,” said Schechter on “Smart Health” on GoLocal LIVE. 

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“We know that about a hundred and forty thousand people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year and there’ll be about 50,000 deaths,” said Schechter. “But the good news is this is entirely preventable. People have to realized that colon cancer starts with polyps in the colon — little growths — and it takes five to seven years minimum for them to become cancer. So there’s a lot of time actually for tests to prevent and remove these polyps.”

Screening and Developments 

Schechter spoke to what the medical community believes might be the reason for the increase in colon cancer for younger people. 

“There’s links between obesity, meat consumption, alcohol conceptions and colorectal cancer the question is what are the genetic changes taking place — there could be certain environmental causes such as insecticides or other chemicals that we’re being exposed to,” he said. 

“I think we’re going to be very clever in terms of who we screen and we’ll have genetic testing and it will be possibly easier and cheaper to focus on high-risk groups — certainly 75% of colorectal cancer is sporadic but 25% is familial,” he added. 

Schechter, MD, the interim chief of colorectal surgery for Lifespan, is a board-certified colorectal surgeon with special expertise in laparoscopic, minimally invasive surgery, fecal incontinence, pelvic floor reconstructive surgery, and colon cancer.  

Brown Alpert Medical School — and Smart Health

Since granting its first Doctor of Medicine degrees in 1975, the Warren Alpert Medical School has become a national leader in medical education and biomedical research.

By attracting first-class physicians and researchers to Rhode Island over the past four decades, the Medical School and its seven affiliated teaching hospitals have radically improved the state's health care environment, from health care policy to patient care.

"Smart Health" is a GoLocalProv.com segment featuring experts from The Warren Alpert Medical School GoLocal LIVE.

Dr. Steven Schechter, a colorectal surgeon at Brown Surgical Associates and a clinical associate professor of surgery at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University said that colorectal cancer is decreasing for people over 50 — but is going up for younger people. 

 
 

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