Millennials vulnerable to spikes in numerous diseases led by colorectal cancer

gettyimages millennials on phones

The rates of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are up 14% among commercially-insured adults ages 22-37, according to a Blue Cross Blue Shield Association report released [July 20]. The rates of diabetes and diagnosed obesity are up 35% and 100%, respectively.

People with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis have almost double the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Those with diabetes or diagnosed obesity have a 1.7 and 1.3 times greater risk, respectively.

This trend among millennials could lead to a spike in colorectal cancer cases, according to the report, which stresses the importance of colorectal cancer screening.

previous BCBS report found that millennials have a higher prevalence rate for type 2 diabetes, Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis than Generation X did at the same age. And though the overall colon cancer incidence rate is falling, it is rising among younger adults.

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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends colorectal cancer screening begin at age 50, but people with Crohn’s disease or other risk factors should get screened earlier.

Related article:  Cancer-linked obesity soaring among millennials in the United States
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Though early detection and treatment can make a big difference in patient outcomes, screening rates are still low.

About 60% of people 50 and older and nearly half of people with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis aren’t getting screened, according to the BCBS report. It cites a lack of awareness regarding the importance of screenings and anxiety about the process as the driving factors.

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