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Why the Colon Cancer Scare Is Fake News

Colorectal cancer, which includes both cancers of the colon and rectum, is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

An estimated 135,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year (about 95,500 cases of colon cancer and 39,900 cases of rectal cancer1), and more than 50,000 die from it.

Historically, colon cancer has been confined to those over the age of 50, but that’s changing. According to a recent report2 by the American Cancer Society, prevalence among younger people is rising.3,4,5 As reported by STAT News:6

“Among adults between the ages of 20 and 39, colon cancer has increased by 1 percent to 2.4 percent a year since the mid-1980s. This rise has been so dramatic that those born in 1990 and afterward have rates of colon cancer not seen since 1890.”

The findings made headlines and, not surprisingly, younger people are now urged to consider colon cancer screening, which is typically done by colonoscopy.

What the study and many news sources fail to mention, however, is that if you’re in your 20s and 30s, your mortality risk from colonoscopy is FAR greater than your risk of colon cancer! This is a vitally important consideration that simply isn’t given the proper attention.

It’s a mistake to equate screening with prevention and, if anything, the findings are a wakeup call to Gen-Xers and Millennials that they really need to reassess their lifestyle choices, as the ramifications of poor diet and sedentary behavior are catching up to them at an increasingly younger age.