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More young people than ever are getting colorectal cancer. Take this quiz to check your risk level
An interactive quiz could reveal your risk of suffering from colorectal cancer — a disease that is quietly causing an epidemic among young people.
Once considered an ‘old man’s disease’, diagnoses of the cancer are now surging among under-55s, doubling over the last 25 years. The age group is now behind one-in-five cases.
To warn people of their risk, Fight Colorectal Cancer has designed a 13-point questionnaire that looks at age, ethnicity, family history of cancer, activity levels and obesity status.
You can take the quiz below:
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Users are also asked about whether someone’s diet is high in red or processed meat, or low in fiber, grains and vegetables, as well as how much alcohol they drink.
Users are then assigned a ‘low’, ‘moderate’ or ‘high’ risk of developing colon cancer and are encouraged to get screened for the disease if they fall into the latter categories.
Dr Fola May, a medic at the University of California, Los Angeles and a Fight Colorectal Cancer board member, said the quiz was for people of all ages.
She told Insider that those who got a ‘low risk’ estimate didn’t need to get checked for colon cancer until they turned 45 years old.
But if a person’s mother, father, brother or sister has the cancer, or they get a higher risk estimate, then they should consider getting screened by the time they turn 40 years old.
The quiz will tell people they either have a low, green zone, medium, yellow and orange zone, or high, red zone, risk of developing colon cancer
A colon cancer screening is called a colonoscopy. This is when doctors put a short, thin, flexible tube up someone’s rectum to check for polyps or signs of cancer in the lower third of the colon.
Amid concern over rising cancer diagnoses among younger adults, US medics are currently recommending everyone should start to get screened from the age of 45 years.
People should go once a decade, guidelines suggest, but those in their 60s who are at higher risk should get checked once every five years.
Previously, they had recommended that people did not need to get screened for the cancer until they turned 50.
Screenings help to detect cancer in the early stages when it is much easier to treat.
Because colon cancer triggers few, if any, symptoms in the early stages, many people can have the cancer without realizing.
Early warning signs include blood in the stool, change in bowel habits, cold hands and feet and abdominal pain.
Colon cancer is the third-most-common cancer among men and women, behind 100,000 cases and 52,000 deaths every year.
About 63 percent of people live more than five years following their diagnosis, estimates suggest.
It is not clear what causes the cancer, but it has previously been linked to a diet high in red or processed meat, being overweight and having a family history of cancer.
COLON CANCER: WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS?
Bowel, or colorectal, cancer affects the large bowel, which is made up of the colon and rectum.
Such tumors usually develop from pre-cancerous growths, called polyps.
- Bleeding from the bottom
- Blood in stools
- A change in bowel habits lasting at least three weeks
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme, unexplained tiredness
- Abdominal pain
Most cases have no clear cause, however, people are more at risk if they:
- Are over 50
- Have a family history of the condition
- Have a personal history of polyps in their bowel
- Suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease
- Lead an unhealthy lifestyle
Treatment usually involves surgery, and chemo- and radiotherapy.
More than nine out of ten people with stage 1 bowel cancer survive five years or more after their diagnosis.
Unfortunately, only around a third of all colorectal cancers are diagnosed at this early stage.
The majority of people come to the doctor when the disease has spread beyond the wall of the colon or rectum or to distant parts of the body, which decreasing the chance of being successfully cured of colon cancer.
According to Bowel Cancer UK figures, more than 41,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK.
It affects around 40 per 100,000 adults per year in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute.