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Youth confront colorectal cancer in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, OCT 07: Colorectal cancer, once thought to be a disease of the elderly, has now become an unexpected and alarming threat among the youth in Kashmir.

Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or the rectum. These cancers can also be called colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they start. Sometimes abnormal growths, called polyps, form in the colon or rectum. Over time, some polyps may turn into cancer.

On a sunny morning Ashfaq Khan, a 28-year-old youth, noticed blood in his stool. Concerned, he immediately made an appointment with a physician. After a series of tests, his doctor’s somber face delivered the shocking news, he had colorectal cancer. Ashfaq’s world came crashing down, and he could not fathom how this could happen to someone his age.

His case was an isolated incident. It has been seen that more and more young people are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Kashmir. It was a phenomenon that no one could ignore, prompting medical experts to delve deeper into the causes.

They found that while age and genetics played a role, lifestyle factors were contributing significantly to this disturbing trend.

“In an age of fast food, sedentary jobs, and constant stress, many young adults are neglecting their health. Poor dietary choices and a lack of physical activity are becoming the norm,” said a physician Dr Zubair Ahmad.

He said obese also increases the risk of colorectal cancer in both men and women. “Regular moderate to vigorous activity can lower the risk,” he said.

According to a recent study entitled: “Colorectal Cancer in Young Adult Population in Kashmir Valley: Tertiary Care Centre Experience” colorectal cancer has been reported frequently in young adults.  “Bleeding per rectum was the most common (74.2%) presenting symptom followed by altered bowel habits (72.6%),” the study says.

It says the diagnosis of colorectal cancer should be done at the early and curable stage for a better outcome.

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