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Doctors Making Disturbing Finds - They Can't Figure Out Why Young People Are Getting Horrible Cancers so Quickly

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In an age of profound uncertainty on many fronts, young people face a new and mysterious health threat.

The U.K. Daily Mail reported that colorectal cancer is “expected to become the number one cause of cancer deaths in people under 50 by the end of the decade.”

“This is a humongous issue,” said Dr. Christopher Lieu, co-director of gastrointestinal oncology at the University of Colorado Medicine.

The challenge for young people — those of us on the upper end of the age range will appreciate the appellation “young” — is that the cause of this spike in colorectal cancer cases remains unknown.

Dr. Lieu cited a study published in April that suggested a higher probability of early-onset colorectal cancer in females born by cesarean section. Another study examined a possible connection between oral antibiotic use and colorectal cancer.

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According to The City of Hope, Toufic Kachaamy, chief of Medicine at City of Hope Phoenix, believes there is a more straightforward answer.

“It’s lifestyle. There’s no doubt in my mind,” Dr. Kachaamy said. A fast-food diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, and a lack of exercise all lead to increased risks.

Although the risk factors come as no surprise, a colorectal cancer diagnosis for a young person can be a devastating shock. “One day, you’re out to dinner or a party, the next thing you know, you’re on chemotherapy,” Dr. Kachaamy said.

Will cancer rates in young people become even worse?

City of Hope offers integrative care to cancer patients who need comprehensive support.

A surge in colorectal cancer cases among young people reminds us of the fundamental question that plagues every free society: What is the best way to live, and why?

Sedentary lifestyles and instant gratification of appetites are problems of affluence. While no one would suggest poverty as a remedy for anything besides aristocratic haughtiness, it is clear that relative wealth poses its own challenges.

Wealth itself, of course, is not the problem. A good many well-to-do people have the time, resources, and inclination to take care of themselves.

In some cases, the problem lay in convincing young people that there is joy and meaning to be found in something other than the immediate satisfaction of desires. Centuries ago, young aristocrats were notorious for the torpor of their minds as they passed from one sensual pleasure to another, unable to find purpose in their lives.

While democratization has brought the age of aristocrats to an end, relative (though diminishing) prosperity has democratized the aristocrat’s temptation by making it easier for young people from the middle and lower classes to gratify their immediate appetites.

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None of this is meant as a middle-aged screed against young people. It certainly does not, in some ridiculous, scolding way, insist that young people are to blame for rising colorectal cancer rates.

This is a medical problem that happens to have a social and cultural context.

“Eat healthy and exercise” is good medical advice. “Eat healthy and exercise, so the republic does not crumble while you turn into a languishing, voluptuous, neo-aristocrat” is good social and cultural advice.

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Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.
Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.




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