Study Links Rising Colorectal Cancer in Younger Demographics to Diet and Lack of Exercise

by Ella
healthy diet

Recent findings from the Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center have revealed a concerning trend: colorectal cancer rates are on the rise among individuals aged 30, 40, and 50, while simultaneously declining in older age groups. Researchers attribute this concerning trend to the prevalence of early cancer screenings among older adults, which helps mitigate the full development of the disease.

“It’s definitely not what you think you’re going to get diagnosed with at 43 years old,” remarked cancer survivor Will Triplett, underscoring the unexpected nature of colorectal cancer diagnoses in younger individuals.


The study conducted by the Center also shed light on a crucial knowledge gap among younger Americans regarding the modifiable risk factors associated with colorectal cancer, such as diet and exercise. According to the findings, many individuals in this demographic are less informed about these controllable risk factors compared to factors beyond their control, such as genetic family history.


In a survey involving approximately 1,000 adults, the study revealed the following concerning statistics:


Less than half of respondents were aware that alcohol use is a risk factor for colorectal cancer (49%).


Two in five individuals were unaware that a lack of physical activity contributes to the risk of developing colorectal cancer (42%).

More than a third of respondents did not recognize obesity or the consumption of an American diet (characterized by high-fat and processed foods) as risk factors (38% and 37%, respectively).

However, a significant majority (four in five) were aware that family history plays a role in colorectal cancer risk.

Commenting on these findings, Dr. Kalady emphasized the importance of understanding both modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors associated with colorectal cancer. He noted that while these risk factors impact colorectal cancer across all age groups, they appear to be more prevalent among younger populations in recent years.

Following successful treatment and surgery, Triplett, now cancer-free, advocates for proactive health management, urging individuals—particularly men—to prioritize colorectal cancer screenings and address symptoms promptly.

“You don’t want bad news to potentially be worse news,” Triplett emphasized, stressing the importance of early detection. He encourages individuals to schedule appointments with their primary care physicians and communicate any concerning symptoms promptly.

Notably, colorectal cancer screenings are typically recommended starting at age 45. However, the Center expresses concern over the increasing number of individuals developing cancer before reaching this age milestone.

In light of these findings, experts emphasize the importance of adopting simple yet impactful measures to safeguard overall health, with particular emphasis on managing weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise. These proactive steps can play a vital role in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer and promoting long-term wellness.



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