An interesting fact

Moesimo Member Posts: 1,072 Member
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
I am in the process of having genetic testing done at Dana Farber because I was 46 when diagnosed and there is no history of colon cancer in my family.
The doctor I am seeing told me that the average age to get colon cancer in the US is 66. It seems that so many of us were so much younger when diagnosed.


  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866 Member
    I have no history in my family of any cancer, but I was diagnosed at 46 last year with stage IV colon cancer. What I've always heard is that one should be tested at age 50. If someone in your family had it, you should be tested 10 years prior to when they were diagnosed.
  • JKendall
    JKendall Member Posts: 186
    Same with my wife, she's 47 with no family history of any kind of cancer, and was diagnosed with stage IV back in October. She went to doctors two or three times in the year and a half before her diagnosis with symptoms of constant constipation, bloating, swelling, weight fluctuations, blah blah blah (everyone here knows what we're talkinh about). Each time the doctor said ohhh, just lose a little weight, exercise more, eat better, you're just getting a little older.... Not one offered or suggested any kind of internal exam. And we didn't know better to ask for it then. So here we are. Better educated about it now, but frustrated. Jimmy
  • alihamilton
    alihamilton Member Posts: 347 Member
    I agree that most people on the board are much younger than the average age of diagnosis but I think it is probably due to the fact that older people are not so often into computers and the internet. My husband was 65 when dx but I am a computer addict! I am sure the stats are correct...just that most older patients do not have the benefit of these boards.... I could not do without them!
  • tkd3g
    tkd3g Member Posts: 767
    Hi Maureen,

    I was 42 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. I had a clean colonoscopy 3 years prior!

    My dad had colon cancer when he was in his early 60's.( he's cancer free and fine 14 years later )

    So, I guess my kids should be checked in their 30's. But, to tell you the truth, I'm going to push them when they are in their 20's. Hey, this is so preventable. Why wait?

    Love to all,

  • jana11
    jana11 Member Posts: 705
    Hey there. I was 32 years old at diagnosis and NO family history what so ever. I met with genetics at MD Anderson, but chose not to have further testing because I believe it was a chance mutation in my DNA. However, I am trying to make all my siblings get colonoscopy - so far only one of three has done it.

  • taunya
    taunya Member Posts: 390 Member
    I gave blood and did a huge questionaire at DF for the same purpose. I was 39 when I was dx'ed and I too, have no family history! The docs had treated me for hemmorhoids for 4 months prior to dx. They were SHOCKED when the tumor was discovered. I thought the doc was going to keel right over.
    Whats up with this???? We are TOO young for the big C. Or so I thought. Let us know if you have any more info.
  • spongebob
    spongebob Member Posts: 2,565 Member
    Hi, Maureen -

    Lots of interesting anecdotes here...

    I was 37 when I was diagnosed and 33 when I got "sick" (according to the pathology report). That's young. I agree with Ali that the median age here is probably a reflection of being part of the computer-savvy "younger" generation, but in the same breath I have to add this:

    I just returned to the ship today after spending the last several days in upstate New York photographing the "Colondar" ( - I'm gonna be Mr. July). The whole deal with the Colondar is to show young men and women who are presently fighting colon cancer or are survivors. One gal was 21, one guy was 22, many of the models were in their mid-20s to 30s. All in all there were 16 models and we were all diagnosed well under that magic age of 50.

    And maybe that's another reason folks here seem to be younger - maybe we're madder. Maybe we have this stuff because we didn't get treated correctly (like we were 60) and so we have some steam to vent off. Maybe we have seen first-hand that doctors don't know everything and we need to be a primary member of our own healthcare team instead of someone who's just along for the ride.

    Whatever the case may be, Maureen, the bottom line is this: Cancer knows no age. Cancer does not discriminate. The earlier we detect the dragon, the sooner we can slay it.

    You hit the nail on the head with your observations, Maureen - colon cancer isn't just for the over 50 crowd.


    - SpongeBob
  • scouty
    scouty Member Posts: 1,965 Member
    Lordy Maureen, this is a tough subject. I was 49 at DX with no family history and don't have the genetic type of cancer ( I was tested). Once again these are numbers based on stats gathered for over 50 years. Yes the "average age" might be 66, but that is based on numbers collected since 1950.

    The obvious fact is that more younger people are getting cancer now then ever and it comes from somewhere. It is in our environment, our diet, and our lifestyles. Cancer rates are so much higher in the US then any other country, why is that?????? I am a believer in trying to change the things you can and not waste energy on the things you can not. I can't change some of my life but I can change some of it. I now only eat organic veggies mostly, natural meats and had a water purifications system installed on my well. I find it amazing that the ole US of A won't let our athletes consume steriods, but we sure do let us all eat them with our beef and other meats. Pesticides are rampant now so our farmers can keep their jobs. Or so we have been brainwashed to think. If you do not believe me, do some research on how chemo drugs are tested. They have to treat a cancerous rat to test the drugs, but how do they give the rats particular cancers? The inject them with known carcinogens, check their most effective ones. Pesticides and other crap we eat daily are injected into the rats (yes is higher doses then we consume on a daily basis but it does build up). If you don't agree with me on this then just explain why cancer is so rampant in the USA right now. The rest of the world is suffering too, but not like the US is.

    Have you ever thought about the resolution to the Social Security crisis? I have and I have to agree with some of my friends, the younger we all die, the quicker it gets back into economic "black". I do not think our government gives a rats **** about us all. It is all about money and it seems the pharmaceutical and other big companies are all making so much money at our expense. What we eat is crap mostly and no one seems to care.

    Some of us find out about it when we get sick. I never really knew how much the commercials on TV stunk until lately. I never knew I could impact my cancer situation with a diet change like I have. I have no idea if I will need chemo again or not but trust me, it will only be as a last resort the next time, not the first.
  • cal79
    cal79 Member Posts: 57
    I was 25 when I was diagnosed and my treatment team were a bit "shocked" (to put it mildly...). I agree that many people on this board are younger than the typical bowel cancer population, however recent articles in medical journals have flagged the rise of this type of cancer in younger people. Many have attributed it to diet, lifestyle etc, but I would have to challenge this view (always been a healthy eater, don't eat red meat, don't smoke, drink little, do pilates and yoga and aqua aerobics, never been overweight...), and I believe many other younger survivors are in the same boat. I do think that when the next batch of longitudinal results from cancer research come out we will be looking at dramatically different cancer prevalence patterns however (most studies are now outdated).
  • ron50
    ron50 Member Posts: 1,723 Member
    Hi Maureen, We have just had colorectal ca awareness week in Australia. One person dies every two hours in Australia from colorectal cancer. It is now statistically the leading cancer killer in Australia. We are killing ourselves with what we eat and most are not flushing the toxins by not drinking enough water,,,I know I don't !I'm trying harder but in the past I would have been lucky to drink two glasses (with no additives ) a day. I am more than willing to admit that it was probably my own fault that I got cancer. Now I am like a reformed smoker I annoy the hell out of people to change their lifestyle before they need early detection. Ron.
  • 2bhealed
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064 Member
    Hey moe,

    Well I can belly up to the bar on this one. My sister was diagnosed with intestinal cancer at 29. She had been sick for a few years and kept being misdiagnosed...cuz who would expect intestinal cancer in one so young. She lived almost 4 years after her dx. We had NO prior family history.

    Sad thing is that NO ONE--not one doctor--ever told the rest of us (there were three other girls) to get tested. It didn't occur to us personally either cuz all the doctors kept telling us this was so rare. HA!

    Fast forward nine years TO THE DAY of her death and I am awaiting a colonoscopy at the Mayo Clinic cuz I am having similar symptoms. I was 39.

    Tumor found. Two sisters. No prior history. Young at dx. I was told my tumor could have been in there for ten years putting me in my late 20's early 30's at the time of tumor "inception".

    What pisses me off is that EVERY SINGLE TIME I went to a doctor for anything and I gave my complete family history NOT ONE doctor suggested that I get checked.....and I was at the doctor for things like hemorrhoids and fissures and anal spasms. HELLO???

    It wasn't until I was doubled over with horrendous abdominal pain, bloody mucousy diarrhea and the feeling of constipation (there's something in there that won't come out--tumor--duh) that the GP I saw, bless her heart, said YOU NEED A COLONOSCOPY!! Do ya think???

    So there you go.

    If I have learned anything through all this it's that WE need to be out OWN advocate and EDUCATE ourselves on our disease and the cures. Had I done that 15 years ago when my sister was dx'ed I wouldn't be here writing this post cuz I wouldn't have had a tumor get out of hand.

    In memory of my sister who was told she was annorexic, had lupus, had an antinuclear antibody, was anemic, whatever else they told her......I am here advocating.

    Yes, it makes me a woman with a mission. Because cancers can be prevented, but "they" don't really want us to know. Colon Cancer is 80% dietary related.....but are they telling you what to eat what to avoid? Nope. Are they serving you foods during your colon cancer surgery recovery that will help you recover? Nope. Meat, potatoes, jello, pudding......not to mention the donuts they are serving up at the Chemo Depot.

    Oh well. Until we revolt and quit buying the garbage foods that they're telling us to buy to make us happy we'll be getting cancers younger and younger.

    peace, emily who will not quit advocating ever!
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  • shmurciakova
    shmurciakova Member Posts: 906 Member
    I was 31 years old when I was diagnosed and am now 35. I also had no history of colon cancer in my family and have since been determined not to have any genetic predisposition (that they know of). I am also wondering , well, then what the hell is causing this. It has not gone un-noticed by me that the average age of the folks on this board is well below the age of 50. I even asked my shrink about this fact. He says that the only reason there are so many young people on the boards is because this is a place where the relatively few people w/ colon cancer congregate. Well, I have a hard time believing that. Maybe it can be in part attributed to the fact that young folks are more computer saavy than our elder counterparts, but that is clearly not the whole story. I think that in addition to diet, there are many other factors that are not being addressed. One of them being what chemicals we are exposed to. Moreover, combinations of chemicals. While each chemical is tested individually they have no idea what combinations of chemicals can do. For example, two of the main components of plastic have been recently linked to breast and testicular cancer. Why not colon cancer. We are surrounded by plastic. We eat from plastic containers, we store our food in plastic, we drink from plastic bottles. Right now I am typing away on a plastic keyboard. Hmmmm?
    I am sure that America, Australia, and other "developed" countries, have more exposure to plastic, than say, Somalia....
    At any rate, I personally feel that the closer to "natural" we can be, the better off we are. I also feel that we live in a society that does not value the mind/body connection. We have to believe we can be healed and that our bodies have the innate ability to rid us of cancer. I think until the yucky tought processes are gone, it does not matter how good your diet is, but that is just my opinion.
    I have always been an athlete, I have never had a really poor diet, although I have to admit, I have cut WAY back on refined sugars and carbs since I have been diagnosed and I think it is helping me. I also take a variety of herbs and supplements.
    I like all of you am very angry that this happened to me when I never even considered it to be a possibility!
    OK, rant/rave, I am done, Susan.