Two-year-old bowel cancer “red flags” 2023


Researchers found four “red flag” colon cancer symptoms that might appear two years before diagnosis.

Researchers observed that symptoms may signal early-onset colon cancer in patients under 50.

43,000 new instances of bowel cancer are diagnosed annually in the UK.

The illness kills roughly 17,000 people and accounts for 11% of new cancer cases.

54% of UK bowel cancers are avoidable.

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis researchers think the four signs might help younger persons be diagnosed earlier.

The four “red flag” symptoms that individuals may experience three to two years before diagnosis are:

  • Stomach discomfort
  • Rectal bleed
  • Diarrhoea
  • Iron-deficient anemia

The researchers found that having one symptom practically quadrupled the chance of colon cancer, two symptoms more than three and a half times, and three or more symptoms more than six and a half times.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute research examined over 5,000 early-onset colon cancer patients.

Senior investigator Yin Cao said, “Colorectal cancer is not simply a disease affecting older people; we want younger adults to be aware of and act on these potentially very telling signs and symptoms, particularly because people under 50 are considered to be at low risk, and they don’t receive routine colorectal cancer screening.

Primary care doctors, gastroenterologists, and emergency medicine doctors must also be informed. Many early-onset colorectal malignancies are found in emergency departments, which can delay diagnosis.

In 2021, UK bowel cancer tests were increased to encompass 50-59-year-olds.

Rectal bleeding and iron deficiency anemia require endoscopy and follow-up, according to Dr. Cao.

First research author Cassandra Fritz said: “It usually takes about three months to get a diagnosis from the time a person first goes to the doctor with one or more of the red flag signs and symptoms we’ve identified. In this investigation, several young individuals exhibited symptoms for two years before their diagnosis.

That may explain why many of these younger individuals had more advanced illness at diagnosis than older adults who are checked routinely.

A March 2023 research indicated that a new blood test might save colon cancer patients from annual treatment.

A four-year research will involve 1,600 UK bowel cancer patients.

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