Stigma, the gut, and young adult colon cancer

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Resource provided by our friends at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

It’s time to get loud about what happens in the bathroom. And although you might find that awkward, these four experts don’t. The increase in young adult colon cancer diagnoses underscores why everyone needs to be cognizant of what’s being flush, warning signs and be thinking about what gets digested.

A cancer journey is as individual as the person. No two are alike. But being a younger adult with cancer can throw milestone life events into sheer disarray. Cathy Eng, MD, David H. Johnson Chair in Surgical and Medical Oncology and Co-Director of GI Oncology and Co-Leader of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Program, watched as her patients grappled with those questions and many more. Her experience treating and helping younger adults spurred her to launch the young adult cancers program at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

“I think the reality is that most young people feel invincible, right? So most of the time they’ve been healthy their whole lives. Some of them don’t even have a primary care physician and many of them are either going into a higher degree or graduating from college or embarking on a new career. And so, things seem a little erratic in regards to their bowel habits, they don’t probably think much of it,” said Eng.