Aspirus Media Center

Colorectal Cancer Rates Continue to Climb in Young Adults

Colonoscopy recommended by age 45


Renee Schessler, PA-C, Gastroenterology with Aspirus Health

 Incidence rates of colorectal cancer continue to climb in young adults, according to a recent report published by Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.


The American Cancer Society (ACS) further found that younger adults are first discovering their colorectal cancer in advanced stages. Many young people are discovering life-threatening advanced colorectal cancer that could have been prevented with earlier detection.


Renee Schessler, PA-C, Gastroenterology with Aspirus Health, confirms the trend. “We’re seeing a lot of increased colorectal cancer, especially in younger and younger people.”


“The best way to catch colorectal cancer is by having a colonoscopy done,” she explains.


The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a new recommendation in 2021 that people of average risk should have a colonoscopy at age 45, based on this trend of growing cases among younger adults. But according to the ACS, more than 1 in 3 adults aged 45 and older still have not been screened.


Schessler says, “a colonoscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure.”


Since colorectal cancer continues to strike adults who are younger and younger, if someone younger than age 45 is experiencing symptoms consistent with colorectal cancer, they should discuss with their primary care provider or gastroenterologist without delay. “A lot of times colorectal cancer can be asymptomatic, but there are some things to watch out for,” says Schessler. These red flags may include:

  • A change in bowel habits
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal bloating and/or discomfort

Colorectal cancer is now the third leading cause of cancer-related death in America.


Having a yearly wellness exam is imperative as your family medicine provider will keep you on track with all necessary screenings, including colonoscopies. To find a provider near you, visit



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