Colorectal cancer is extremely rare in young adults. Less than 1.5 percent of all colorectal cancer diagnoses occur in individuals under the age of 34; this type of cancer is much more of a concern for adults 45 years of age and older. When colorectal cancers do develop in adolescents and young adults, the underlying cause is often a hereditary syndrome, such as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) or Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC).
Because colorectal cancers are so seldom diagnosed in young men and women, few oncologists who specialize in these malignancies have experience in treating patients in the under-39 age group. The surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists at Moffitt Cancer Center treat a high volume of young patients and have the experience necessary to tailor their treatment plans to their specific needs. For instance, our team can:
- Recommend specific chemotherapy drugs based on their ability to destroy colorectal cancer cells without affecting the ovaries (for women) or gonads (for men)
- Design targeted radiation therapy plans that minimize unnecessary radiation exposure to the reproductive organs
- Provide social, emotional and psychological counseling for young adults who are balancing cancer treatment with work, school and family matters
- Perform colorectal cancer screenings for young adults who have been identified as having an elevated risk of colorectal cancer due to an inherited syndrome or genetic abnormality
Patients who are facing a colorectal cancer diagnosis early in life may also benefit from our extensive schedule of peer-to-peer activities, including patient and caregiver support groups and casual recreational programs. We are the only cancer center in Florida with a dedicated space for adolescent and young adult patients, and our Adolescent and Young Adult Program welcomes patients between the ages of 15 and 39.
Referrals are not required to seek colorectal cancer treatment at Moffitt. To learn more about our approach to treating colorectal cancer in young adults, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.