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Colorectal cancer is one of the most common gastrointestinal cancers, most commonly seen in people over the age of 50. However, in recent years, the incidence of the disease among young people has increased dramatically. According to Globocan 2020, Vietnam recorded nearly 16,000 new cases and more than 8,200 deaths from this disease.

Why are more and more young people getting colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer occurs when abnormal, uncontrolled cell growth begins in the colon or rectum (the junction between the colon and anus).

According to TS.BS Vu Huu Khiem – Head of Oncology Department, Tam Anh General Hospital, Hanoi, the risk factors that increase the likelihood of colorectal cancer include diet, lifestyle, and environment. school. In addition, an incidence of colorectal cancer is related to genetics and some precancerous conditions such as colorectal polyps, especially polyps with wide legs and no stalks.

Notably, according to recent data, colorectal cancer tends to be younger. In fact, most young people tend to be subjective, not really paying attention to health care, physical training and building a healthy diet. Many people are used to a sedentary lifestyle, eating a lot of meat and fast food, less vegetables, drinking alcohol excessively, smoking… These are all habits that increase the incidence of diseases.

In case the patient has a genetic predisposition at high risk of cancer, an unscientific lifestyle, and an unhealthy diet will contribute to “waking up” these genes, making the cancer come early and progress complicatedly. more complicated.

Signs of colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer often has no obvious symptoms in its early stages. However, warning signs may include:

  • Change in bowel habits: Patients may experience diarrhea, constipation or change in stool consistency
  • Passing out blood, fresh or black blood depending on the tumor location
  • Feelings of discomfort in the abdomen appear persistent: abdominal cramps, bloating, bowel obstruction …
  • The feeling of having an incomplete bowel movement, changing stool pattern, frequent urge to defecate
  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Many patients with colorectal cancer have no obvious symptoms in the early stages. Besides, the symptoms in each patient are different, depending on the size and location of the tumor.

This is also the reason why many patients easily ignore the symptoms or confuse them with other gastrointestinal diseases, leading to delayed examination. In fact, many patients with gastrointestinal cancer are diagnosed when the disease has entered stage 3, stage 4, poor prognosis, causing a lot of difficulties in treatment and recovery.

How to prevent colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is dangerous, but we can still actively prevent it by making healthy lifestyle changes, building a reasonable diet and getting regular cancer screenings.

For young people, they need to be aware that this is a disease that can affect all ages, not just middle-aged or elderly people. From there, young people will pay more attention to taking care of their own health, building a lifestyle as well as a scientific and balanced diet and exercise.

Specifically, to prevent colorectal cancer, you need:

  • Add fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your daily diet. These are nutritious and healthy foods, containing many substances that have the ability to eliminate cancer-causing factors.
  • Limit alcohol consumption, quit smoking and don’t use drugs
  • Plan to exercise every day. If you are a sedentary person, start with gentle exercises, then gradually increase the intensity and duration of the exercise. The International Union for Cancer Prevention (UICC) recommends that every day spend at least 30 minutes exercising to improve health and prevent diseases in general and colorectal cancer in particular.
  • Maintain a moderate weight.

In addition to changing lifestyle and eating habits, colorectal cancer screening also plays an important role in helping you prevent and detect the disease at an early stage. The American Cancer Society recommends that people who are not at high risk for colorectal cancer begin screening at age 50. For those at high risk, such as a family history of cancer diagnosis. colorectal cancer, screening should begin at a younger age.

There are many methods to help detect colorectal cancer at an early stage. At Tam Anh General Hospital, tests commonly used to screen for this disease include:

  • Fecal occult blood test (FIT): (also known as fecal occult red blood cell immunoassay) aims to detect very small amounts of blood in a stool sample that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
  • Colonoscopy with flexible bronchoscope: is a procedure to insert a flexible endoscope through the anus from the rectum to the colon, to the cecum to observe the entire colonic mucosa, in order to diagnose and treat at the same time. colorectal pathologies such as polypectomy, early cancer removal. The procedure can be carried out with anesthesia so that the patient does not feel discomfort and pain during the procedure.