New Campaign Addresses Rise in Young-onset Colon Cancer

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The Colon Cancer Alliance has partnered with Bowel Cancer UK and the Colon Cancer Prevention Project to launch the international Never Too Young awareness campaign, addressing the rise in young-onset (younger than 50 years) colon cancer diagnoses and mortality rates.

This global collaboration comes with a decisive mission: educating the public that you’re never too young for colon cancer, and arming people with the resources and tools to incite change. The campaign features interviews with experts in the field, draws on information from recent research on the topic. and features young survivors who share their colon cancer experiences firsthand.

“After focusing on the young-onset issue at the Colorectal Cancer Alliance National Conference last year, we heard so many stories and knew we needed to take action,” said Colon Cancer Alliance Interim CEO Jasmine Greenamyer. “We’re letting people know that colon cancer in the under 50 population is on the rise, and that knowledge is crucial. This campaign will make a difference for so many families worldwide.”

According to the American Cancer Society, the average age of colon cancer diagnosis is 68 for men and 72 for women, and rates of diagnosis for those over 50 are decreasing in the United States. But this isn’t the case across the board, with approximately 15,000 new cases of young-onset colon cancer every year, and rising. Because colon cancer is less common in younger populations and often takes longer to diagnose, it often presents at more advanced and fatal stages in young-onset cases.

“Colon cancer in the under 50 population, while rare, has documented rises to prove it is an emerging issue,” said Andrew Kennedy, MD, Director of Radiation Oncology Research at Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville. “The decline in colon cancers in patients over age 50 is thought to be secondary to more screening of this group. It is not felt that colon cancer is a common entity in patients under 50, so this group is not as quickly screened when symptoms first appear, and risk factors are not talked about as often.”

To learn more about the campaign, visit ■

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SIDEBAR: Never Too Young Campaign's Collaborative Effort

The Colon Cancer Alliance’s mission is to knock colon cancer out of the top three cancer killers. The group works to promote prevention, fund cutting-edge research and provide the highest quality patient support services. For more information, visit

Bowel Cancer UK is a charity...