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Barbs results Skewed?

Posts: 488
Joined: Jun 2006

I was looking at Barb's survey results and that while it looks like a vast majority are under 50 at diagnosis (like myself), I think it might be that people under 50 are more likely to network on the internet. We see very few folks in their 60s here, and I think that is because many folks of that age do not use the internet. Even a lot of folks in their 50s don't use the internet.

So I am not sure if we are looking at a skewed result. Still, I would still opt for beginning the screening at age 40, or earlier, for those like me with family history of cancers of any kind.

Just a thought.

rthornton's picture
Posts: 346
Joined: May 2005

I've thought this same thing, in the past. Internet forums are definitely a thing for younger people. My doctor tells me that it's really quite rare for people under 50 to get diagnosed with advanced colon cancer, but there are plenty of people under 50 represented in forums like this, and colonclub, and even people with advanced stages of the disease. But the fact that Internet forums like these can be as active as they are (and the two I mentioned, this one and colonclub.com, both have a lot of traffic), is a sure sign that doctors should be more diligent with screening when younger people come to them and present symptoms like bleeding, excessive diarrhea, etc. I was lucky to get aggressive doctors who took my symptoms seriously, but I've heard horror stories about people being misdiagnosed for several years because they were under 50 and the common, misguided wisdom, is that young people don't get colon cancer. The fact that there are so many young(er) people on these forums shows that the over-50 rule is often wrong.

Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Absolutely skewed. I knew that most people here would be in the 20-40 or 50 range. Although my dad who is 80 is a very active internet surfer, I know most aren't.

I was just curious about the results here on the site.

I do think that most people still view colorectal cancer as an old man's disease.

What I found interesting were all the stage 4 posters.

Well, thank you all for posting. I appreciate all the replys.


kerry's picture
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003


Yes, you surveyed a captive audience. However my opinion is that even though the majority of folks diagnosed with CRC are 50+, the numbers here at this site of those under 50 are staggering and certainly calls for a revamping of recommendations for the age of baseline scan. We are bringing this "preventable" disease to the forefront and we need all the ammunition we can get. In that respect I do not think the numbers are necessarily skewed - I think it is an awakening.

Thanks for the survey.


StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1250
Joined: Mar 2003

I think another way to look at it is not how many colon cancer patients/survivors are under 50 yrs old, but rather how many folks under age 50 yrs old have colon cancer. It's becoming a startling trend that this disease strikes younger people in high numbers. And what sucks even worse is that the test to detect it is kinda like a driver's license....it's a privilege, not a right as far as insurance companies are concerned.......

usakat's picture
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Hi Patrusha!

Yes, you are correct. Without a doubt our casual survey here has produced skewed results in the context of CRC rates among the general population. It is a great survey for people with CRC who use this site, but certainly not representative of people diagnosed with CRC across a broad spectrum. Does this make our survey less valid?

Even though we should expect a biased statistical result due to the demographics of our board, could we argue that we might be on the cutting edge of a new and yet unrecognized trend that people are being diagnosed with CRC at a younger age? Maybe...maybe not.

Even in the most unbiased survey, the results can be skewed by the original question and by the behaviors of those being surveyed. The only way we could know for sure if people are developing CRC earlier is to look at CRC trends over the last several years. Although, since the criteria for screening is age 50, not 40, it doesn't seem that we could accurately answer the question. All we can rely on now is that doctors recognize people who have relative (statistical) risk factors for CRC and test accordingly.

Barb made a good point that CRC is still perceived as an old man's disease. I think it's time to change the face of a real CRC survivor - that we are men and women of all ages and try to move the medical community to a greater awareness.

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