Cancer is an ugly thing, but research is advancing. So why are the rates so high?
No one wants to think about getting cancer. Many people won’t have to face fighting off the disease in their lifetime. Almost everyone will know someone who does, though.
And so the fact that colon cancer is on the rise, is something that affects us all.
New data released by the American Cancer Society this week displays some drastic statistics.
People born in 1990 and later are actually four times as likely to develop rectal cancer as their parents’ generation was, at the very same age. They’re also twice as likely to develop colon cancer. Scary stuff.
Why are the rates so high? Doctors and scientists aren’t really sure, but changes in lifestyle could have something to do with it.
There’s no tried-and-true recipe for avoiding cancer as we all know, but it can help to be aware of the risk factors. Heck, everything has risk factors and knowledge is power, or at the least a sense of it.
The experts say that, in addition to a lack of regular physical activity, a lifestyle that involves a diet low in fruits and vegetables with minimal fiber and high amounts of fat, drinking alcohol and smoking is one that will increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
However, honestly, this isn’t really news to many of us. Most of us already know that a healthy lifestyle can improve your odds of living longer.
And the strange thing with cancer is that developing it can’t be directly and eternally linked to an unhealthy lifestyle. The thing is, there are always survivors who don’t fit the mold. It can be very unpredictable.
There’s always that 107 year-old whose been smoking for over 90 years and keeps on ticking and doesn’t develop a thing.
And for others, it’s just the opposite. Take the case of Dorothy O’Shea of Massachusetts. An avid runner and a vegetarian, she told nbcnews.com that she was skeptical when a friend suggested she might need a colonoscopy, due to some health problems. When she got tested though, it was bad news. It turned out O’Shea had stage 1 colon cancer.
So, what gives? Experts say it often simply comes down to our genes. Some of us get a good hand, and others a lousy one. Some of us have genes that protect us from getting cancer and others have a recipe that promotes tumor growth.
What can we know as a solid fact, then?
Colorectal cancer can occur in young adults and teenagers, but the vast majority of those diagnosed with it are over the age of 50.
And according to the American Cancer Society, since 1950, every generation has experienced an increased risk in developing it.
Thank goodness for researchers like Keven Stonewall from Chicago who are trying to beat cancer by figuring out how to cure it, and working towards a better tomorrow for all.