TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Colon cancer is growing increasingly paramount in young adults across southern counties and East Texas is one of the “hotspot” areas.
According to Andrei C. Gasic, a Gastroenterologist at UT Health of East Texas, there is a population of individuals under the age of 50 and under the age of 40 where they’re seeing an increase of colorectal cancer.
“It’s a very disturbing trend because it has been increasing at about 2% per year”
He said most of it has to do with diet and lifestyle. Obesity and smoking are contributing factors, affecting gene expression. “Humans are made of DNA that gives us our traits. In epigenetics, some genes are silenced, some genes are expressed.”
He said such outside factors like one’s eating habits and lifestyle, can impact gene expression.
“Between the ages of 20 to 39, colorectal cancer is the third leading cancer killer in this country and although its much lower than the incidents of individuals over age 50, but it is increasing at a disturbing trend”Andrei C. Gasic, Gastroenterologist at at UT Health East Texas Physicians Tyler
Gasic added that unhealthy eating habits, like a high-fat diet and cutting out fruits and vegetables, increases the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer can increase.
A study conducted over at the University of Utah by Charles R. Rogers PhD, MPH, MS, conducted a study showing certain areas in the United States act as “hotspots” for early-onset colorectal cancer. East Texas was one of the areas highlighted in the study.
Dr. Gasic said East Texans are known for their high smoking rate.
“And so if you got individuals who are smoking at higher rates, here in this area, particularly men, you’re going to see this epigenetic phenomenon where colorectal cancer is increased,” said Dr. Gasic.
He shared taking care of your diet and living a healthier lifestyle is the best preventative measure. However, if someone has a history of colorectal cancer or is experiencing any symptoms, they should talk with their health care provider to see if early-detection screening can be an option for them.