Man uses story to encourage others to get tested for colon cance - KCTV5

Man uses story to encourage others to get tested for colon cancer

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A new study shows that while colorectal cancer rates are declining across the United States, they aren’t for one age group.

“Definitely a shock,” cancer survivor Diamon Masterson told KCTV5 News when he learned he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at just 37 years old. The surprising thing is, he isn’t alone.

“The rate is alarming,” said St. Luke’s Cancer Institute Oncologist Ashiq Masood.

He said so many young people like Masterson are ignoring the symptoms because cancer is not on their radar.

A startling new study shows colorectal cancer rates increasing in younger people; both Gen Xers and millennials.

“These are the patients that don't have a family history," said Dr. Masood. "This is not familiar.”

This study was led by scientists from the American Cancer Society. It shows people born in the 1990s have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer, compared to people born around the 1950s.

“They think they aren't going to get colon cancer or rectal cancer at this age, and many of these patients present an advantaged stage of these cancers,” said Dr. Masood.

This is what happened in Masterson’s case. Looking back, he said there were signs that he ignored.

“I didn't think at 37 years old that it was probably a tumor," said Masterson.

His cancer spread to his liver and lymph nodes. After one round of chemotherapy, his tumors shrunk and he could undergo surgery. Now he is cancer-free.

“Very blessed, very blessed," said Masterson. "Nothing lucky about it. Very blessed.”

Now he tells his story as a warning for others to get checked.

Masterson said, “It’s something that that could absolutely save your life. Once they see it from that perspective they go, 'Ok. You have a point there, Maybe I should get that done.'"

Right now the current recommendations call for screenings starting at age 50 for people at average risk. Doctor Masood says now more research needs to be done now to determine if screening should be pushed on young adults.

For more information about early detection of colon cancer, click here.

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