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Colon Cancer Typically Affects The Elderly But Is Increasing Among Young Adults
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  • Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman's passing from colon cancer highlights how the disease can strike a wide range of people at any age.

    In the Philippines, cancer is the third leading cause of death. According to the Department of Health's Philippine Cancer Program, colon cancer is the third most common among Filipino men and the fourth most common among women. Four Filipinos die of cancer every hour or around 96 cancer patients per day, the DOH said.

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    Colorectal cancer is typical among adults though it can sicken people at any age. The disease begins from polyps or non-cancerous lumps of cells in the colon or large intestine. These polyps become cancer over time, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    The exact cause of colon cancer is not known. According to the Colon Cancer Coalition in the United States, those who are diagnosed with colon cancer do not often experience any signs or symptoms associated with the disease.

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    The lack of symptoms is a factor why younger adults are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage colon or rectal cancer — they are under the recommended screening age. (When Boseman received his diagnosis in 2016, his colon cancer was already stage III. He would be 39 at the time.)

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    Colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years for men and women over 50 years old. However, Colon Cancer Coalition said incidence of colorectal cancer is increasing among adults under age 50 while rates of colorectal cancer have been declining among adults 50 years and older.

    In 2020, the organization estimates the U.S. have about 18,000 cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed in people under 50, the equivalent of 49 new cases per day.

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    Among the most prominent fatalities due to colon cancer in the Philippines was former President Corazon Aquino. She died at the hospital in August 2009. Colon cancer is also called colorectal cancer since it can start or extend to the rectum. It is treated through surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

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    Other famous personalities who died of colon cancer are Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn and former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, colon cancer symptoms include:

    • a persistent change in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of stool
    • rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
    • persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
    • a feeling that bowel doesn't empty completely
    • weakness or fatigue
    • unexplained weight loss

    This story originally appeared on Reportr.world. Edits have been made by the SmartParenting.com.ph editors.

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