Watch CBS News

American Cancer Society: Colon cancer rates for younger people increase

Colon cancer rates are rising in younger people
Colon cancer rates are rising in younger people 02:28

NORTH TEXAS ( — Colon cancer rates are rising in younger people according to a report released by the American Cancer Society earlier this month.

Fort Worth resident Becky Pruitt was only 44 years old when she was diagnosed two years ago.

"Cancer doesn't discriminate," said Pruitt.

The American Cancer Society says colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States and that one in five people who are diagnosed will be younger than 55 years of age. That last sobering statistic is one of the reasons they recommend people get their first colonoscopy at 45.

Pruitt was able to catch her cancer early and have surgery. Starting with walks for recovery, she now walks for awareness. She also has regular check-ins with her doctors.

"I was very lucky that my doctor did take it seriously, and you do have to advocate for yourself if you know that something is wrong, and your doctor doesn't feel that it's that serious," she said. "Sometimes you have to push and maybe even get a second opinion."

She has some advice for everyone.

"I've talked to a lot of survivors who, when they were diagnosed, they were in complete shock because they thought cancer can't happen to me, especially colon cancer because only older white men get colon cancer," she said. "Cancer hits all backgrounds. It hits men and women. It hits young and old."

Pruitt's symptoms included anemia and blood when she went to the bathroom. She said to never ignore your symptoms.

As far as why we're seeing more cancer in younger people, doctors say we need more research. They do know, however, that more than half of colorectal cancers are attributed to risk factors you can control like diet, exercise and smoking.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.