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    People ages 45-49 are getting checked for colorectal cancer in low numbers.

    Colorectal cancer has become the leading cause of cancer death in men under 50 and the second leading cause in women of the same age group. Young people are often diagnosed with more advanced cancers due to delays in detection, too.


    Yet only 20 percent of people in this age group are getting checked as recommended by organizations including the American Cancer Society and United States Preventive Services Task Force. All people at average risk should begin getting checked at age 45.


    Early detection is an important factor in the successful treatment of colorectal cancer.

  • The earlier CRC is caught, the greater a patient’s chances are of survival. Young people should be aware of the symptoms of colorectal cancer and learn about their family health history. If they are experiencing symptoms, they should push healthcare providers for answers and seek second opinions when necessary.

  • Symptoms

    While people should start getting checked at age 45, young people of any age should advocate for themselves and get checked if they have any of the following symptoms:

    A change in bowel habits

    Changing bowel habits include diarrhea, constipation, narrowing of the stools, and/or feeling like your bowels are not completely empty, even after having a bowel movement.

    Persistent abdominal discomfort

    Abdominal discomfort can cause feelings such as pain, nausea, cramping, bloating, and/or feeling unusually full, even when you haven’t eaten much.

    Blood in or on stool

    An NCI-funded study showed that rectal bleeding had the strongest association with a diagnosis of young-onset colorectal cancer. Bright red spots may show up on tissue or in the toilet. Blood in the stool might make the stool look dark brown or black.


    Weakness and/or fatigue may be a sign of colorectal cancer and may be accompanied by anemia or a low red blood cell count.

    Unexplained weight loss

    You should always seek medical attention if you are losing weight for no known reason.

  • A big reason to get checked:

    The most common symptom of colorectal cancer is no symptom. Because colorectal cancer can cause various symptoms or none at all, it’s important to get checked on time. Factors like symptoms, family health history, and certain conditions like Lynch syndrome could mean you need to get testing completed before age 45.

  • Helpful tools for screening 

    Get a screening recommendation

    Answer a short quiz from the Colorectal Cancer Alliance for a recommendation based on your individual risk factors.

    Find a screening location near you

    Learn more about cancer screening from the American Cancer Society and use the screening locator.