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Why Are Rates of Colorectal Cancer Increasing?
Why Are Rates of Colorectal Cancer Increasing?
March 22/2024

Why Are Rates of Colorectal Cancer Increasing?

Colorectal cancer, once predominantly associated with older individuals, is increasingly affecting younger people and raising concerns about the underlying causes as well as the need for heightened awareness and preventive measures.

While the exact reasons for this rise are not fully understood, several factors have been implicated. These range from lifestyle choices to genetic predispositions. In this article brought to you by Southern Maryland Medical Group, we explore various aspects contributing to the increased rates of colorectal cancer, explore common symptoms, and discuss available treatment options.

If you’d like to consult with a licensed primary care physician, then call Southern Maryland Medical Group to speak with a member of our team. We’re happy to schedule an appointment or arrange a walk-in with one of our primary care doctors for as soon as possible.

Factors Contributing to Rising Colorectal Cancer Rates

Nobody knows for sure why colorectal cancer numbers are rising, but there are a number of factors which contribute:

  • Sedentary Lifestyle and Obesity: Low physical activity coupled with rising rates of obesity, which is a known risk factor for various cancers including colorectal cancer, contribute significantly to the upward trend in cancer diagnoses among younger individuals.
  • Unhealthy Dietary Habits: Diets low in fiber and high in processed foods, saturated fats, and red or processed meats have been associated with a higher incidence of colorectal cancer. The prevalence of such dietary patterns, especially in Western societies, aligns with the observed increase in cancer cases.
  • Smoking and Alcohol Consumption: Tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption are established risk factors for colorectal cancer. The continued prevalence of smoking and excessive drinking in certain demographics contributes to the overall rise in cancer rates.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to environmental pollutants and toxins, although not as extensively studied as other risk factors, may play a role in the development of colorectal cancer.
  • Genetic and Familial Factors: Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or certain genetic mutations, such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), have a higher predisposition to developing the disease. The interplay between genetic susceptibility and environmental influences contributes to the complexity of colorectal cancer risk assessment.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Conditions like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, which fall under the umbrella of IBD, are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. The rising prevalence of IBD in younger populations adds to the overall burden of colorectal cancer cases.

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Early detection of colorectal cancer is crucial for successful treatment outcomes. Common symptoms that individuals should be aware of include:

  • Persistent changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or a change in stool consistency.
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool.
  • Abdominal discomfort, cramping, or pain.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Fatigue or weakness.
  • Feeling of incomplete bowel emptying.
  • Iron deficiency anemia.

It is essential to note that these symptoms can also indicate other gastrointestinal conditions, but they warrant prompt medical evaluation, especially if they persist or worsen over time.

When to Seek a Physician

The rising rates of colorectal cancer among young people underscore the importance of lifestyle modifications, regular screenings, and early detection efforts. It is always advisable to see a physician once or twice a year to consult on symptoms or concerns, and to perform routine check-ups and screenings.

Residents in the area are invited to contact Southern Maryland Medical Group to schedule a convenient appointment or arrange a walk-in for as soon as possible. Our team is on standby to take your call or message today.

Our Locations

Southern Maryland Medical Group has 3 convenient locations to provide professional medical care services in the Southern Maryland area. Call or schedule an appointment with one of our locations to get medical care help. 

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Camp Springs, MD

5801 Allentown Road, Suite 400 Camp Spring, MD 20746

Phone: 301-868- 0150

Billing Inquiries: 301-552-1270

Fax: 301-868-0243

Greenbelt, MD

7500 Greenway Center, Dr #1200 Greenbelt, MD 20770

Phone: 301-486-7580

Billing Inquiries: 301-552-1270

Fax: 301-486-7581

Riverdale, MD

6510 Kenilworth Ave, Ste 1400, Riverdale MD 20737

Phone: 301-618-0771

Billing Inquiries: 301-552-1270

Fax: 301-618-0772