Doctors Say Colon Cancer in Young People Rising

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 101,000 people will get colon cancer this year. The most recent recommendation is for people to get colonoscopies at 45.

Due to more people getting colonoscopies, the rate of colon cancer is going down except in the younger age group.

Doctors say colon cancer in young people is rising.

Brittany Dodson was diagnosed with colon cancer at just 26-years-old and doctors think her tumor began forming when she was much younger.

"I was healthy, young and fit. How could I get this? Why?" Brittany Dodson said.

Dr. Putao Cen, oncologist with Memorial Hermann and UT Health says young people are not immune from cancer, but their symptoms are different.

"If you feel extremely fatigue or pale, you need to check your blood count to see if you are anemic because a lot of time anemic, the blood must losing somewhere causing anemic. And also have an alternate with constipation and diarrhea could be an early sign of rectal cancer or colorectal cancer," Dr. Putao Cen said.

Brittany thought her abdominal pain and bleeding could be from diet or hemorrhoids.

"My sleep habits, my exercise habits, everything I was doing that I thought would work was not working at all," said Dodson.

Luckily, she didn't procrastinate taking her complaints to a doctor.

The first one who heard her symptoms sent her straight to get a colonoscopy where oncologists quickly got her into chemo, then surgery. Long story short, she got the ending she prayed for.

"I'm proud to be a survivor at such a young age. That's the key, that's why I do what I do as an advocate for cancer survivors is because a lot of people don't get the chance so I'm one of the very lucky and blessed ones to be a survivor."

Brittany is now 29 and she gets a colonoscopy every year to make sure the cancer has not returned.

She admits the prep isn't fun, but she says she can't complain because she knows they're life-saving.

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