As a man, you don’t start getting prostate exams until your late 40s early 50s. Women? They rarely have prostate issues.
Maybe not. Both genders may find themselves asking their doctors to pull on the glove sooner than expected in light of a new study from the American Cancer Society suggesting an uptick in colorectal cancers in people between the ages of 20 and 39.
As reported by The New York Times, instances of colon cancer in young people have risen for every generation born since the 1950s. People born in 1990 “have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer,” according Dr. Rebecca Siegel, who authored the report.
But while vigilance is important, Los Angeles Dr. David Schechter told us not to reach for the panic button straightaway. “It’s a good study, but don’t get overly alarmed,” he said. “If you find you have severe constipation or blood in your stool, visit your doctor and tell them you read the article.” If anything is amiss, though, it's important to go ask your doctor for a full test — rather than a less invasive GI exam — regardless of age.
Schechter even reported seeing one case of colon cancer in a 25-year-old. “It was very alarming, because that’s way outside of the age demographic.” But things will get better as soon as doctors can start ordering genetic tests, which “make a difference because they can detect your predispositions with greater certainty.”
As for preventative measure you can take? “I’m not going to point the thing finger at any one issue,” said Schechter. “But I do think diet has something to do with it, and our culture has moved away from home-cooked meals in favor of more delivery.”
As someone who works in the lifestyle arena, I can attest to the fact that the Brussels sprouts ordered at a restaurant are about as healthy scoop of ice cream. Nearly all of the quote foodie restaurants over-use butter, pork fat, duck fat and beef fat. Hence why it tastes so good. Recently, when my cholesterol was verging on 300, I switched to a vegan diet, and within a month, my cholesterol dropped 30 percent and I lost five pounds.
Beyond that, be sure to run through the following checklist to keep that most hallowed of holes hale.
Schedule a checkup if:
- You’re experiencing sustained constipation
- You’ve got blood in your stool
- You’ve got pain down there
- There's a history of cancer in your family
Preventative measures that can’t hurt:
- Eat plenty of fiber — that’s fruit, veggies and whole grains up to 8-10 servings a day
- Eat less red meat and pork
- If you must eat meat, keep it lean (fish and chicken)
- Cut the stress in your life; that means reducing time spent on social media
- Get into meditation
- And exercise as often as possible
No one of those changes alone will guarantee you a perfect colorectal record. But in aggregate, they should have your engine running cleaner in no time.