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Teens & Colon Cancer

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
how many teenagers are diagnosed with colon cancer each year? is it common in teens?
Signed: Teens & Colon Cancer

Dear Teens & Colon Cancer,


Colon cancer (also called colorectal cancer) occurs very infrequently in people under the age of 50. In fact, the number of teens that have been diagnosed is so low that exact figures were unavailable.


The American Cancer Society recommends that screening for colon cancer starts after a person has entered adulthood, but if someone is experiencing symptoms, regardless of their age, a healthcare provider should examine them.


Symptoms To Discuss With a Healthcare Provider

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Blood in the stool
  • Change in bathroom habits

Risk Factors for Colon Cancer

  • Aging (most cases occur in people over age 50)
  • Personal history of polyps, colorectal cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Family history of polyps or colorectal cancer
  • Diets high in fat, calories, protein, meat, and alcohol and low in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary (or inactive) lifestyle

Prevention Tips

  • Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Eat a diet low in fat.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Do not smoke, or if you do smoke, quit.

FX is unsure of why you asked this question, but if you are concerned for yourself or are having any medical symptom, please speak to your doctor. If you do not have one and live in northern NJ, please call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at (973) 971-6475. Also check out the American Cancer Society for more information.

Signed: TeenHealthFX