Transcript for Inside promising new colon cancer treatments
Now to that “Gma” health alert about colon cancer. It’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths in America and now it’s on the rise among young adults. We spoke with one young patient who beat it and the medical team that helped her. It was just about the last news I was expecting to hear. Reporter: At just 24 years old, Dana rye was diagnosed with colon cancer. She’s part of an unsettling trend. Young adults developing one of the deadliest forms of cancer. The first time symptoms appeared for me I was 17 years old in high school and experienced a little bit of rectal 3w4r50eding and said this is what webmd told me it could be and the doctor laughed in my face and said there was no possible way at my age it could be colon cancer. Reporter: Experts suggest adults get screened for colon cancer at 50 years old, 45 for African-Americans but according to a study by the American cancer society, colon cancer rates are rising in adults as young as their 20s and 30s with death rates for this group also increasing. And though the overall risks of colorectal cancers at this ages is still low millennials born in 1990 now face double the risk of colon cancer as a person born in 1950 did at the same age. In our patients with young onset colorectal cancer under 50 what we’re seeing they don’t have a family history or any known genetic predisposition. Reporter: This doctor is behind the first of its kind study at memorial sloan-kettering. If we can identify the patients that are at risk for getting this disease at such a young age we can diagnose them earlier. Their approach, combining research with clinical care to tackle the problem. We hope to provide a broader, more holistic approach of medical care to our patients. Reporter: After six months of grueling treatment, Dana is now 32 years old and eight years cancer-free. If there are changes in your body to know that — recognize them and make sure to investigate them. Yes, and Jen is nodding along about that knowing your body so what is behind this increase? You know, it’s not clear and we don’t know. There are some suggestions and a recent study that came out of sloan-kettering suggests a couple of factors. Increase in polyps. There is a definite delay in getting that patient a colonoscopy. Bleeding that then is attributed to hemorrhoids instead of colon cancer, the cost of a colonoscopy, can be difficult for insurance companies to cover it and all contributes to misdiagnosis so we have to be clear. It is still higher risk if you’re over the age of 50 but this age group, the rise is concerning. It is very concerning. So what about signs, symptom, prevention? This is where people need to pay attention. Even young people because this can be life saving so signs or symptoms. Number one, any type of I regular bleeding, any change in bowel habits. Weight loss unintentional, persistent cramps, gas or pain. If you notice those be persistent. This applies to the medical profession as well and think of this but you have to talk about prevention because that is really important. So when you talk about colorectal cancer, the things that are associated with lower your risk, diet, very important, not smoking, limiting alcohol and keeping your weight in a healthy range for some people, aspirin has been shown to lower the risk but not recommended for everyone across the board. Something you were adamant about discussing, lynch syndrome. I’ve never heard of it. You’re not along. Even some doctors don’t think of lynch syndrome. This is one of the most common heredity trance ss. 1 out of 300 people may be a carrier for this gene. What is. It has an associated increased risk of colorectal cancer and other cancers, endometrial cancer so it’s on my radar as a gynecologist but increased risk of stomach cancer, breast cancer sore for those genetic testing is important. Testing, that’s how you find it.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.
Do the national exercise guidelines need a change? That’s a question raised by a new study by researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.
Americans are bombarded with mixed messages: Exercise only counts if you do it this way or that way, or for a short time or a long time. Confused, some seem to be willing to sit down on the couch and wait till all the recommendations are straightened out. But with the benefits of exercise so important to health, this study hopes to bring some clarity and reassure people that some is better than none — and that it is linked to curtailing premature death.
“Virtually all [studies] report that higher volume of [moderate or vigorous physical activity, MVPA], whether performed intermittently or in sustained bouts, lowers all-cause mortality,” wrote Deborah Rohm Young and William L. Haskell in an editorial accompanying research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The old benchmark of 150 minutes per week of moderate activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) originated in 1995. The “rules”: Each time you exercise, it should be for at least 10 minutes.
“For about 30 years, guidelines have suggested that moderate-to-vigorous activity could provide health benefits, but only if you sustained the activity for 10 minutes or more,” an author of the research, William E. Kraus, M.D., of the Duke University School of Medicine, said in a press release. “That flies in the face of public health recommendations, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and parking farther from your destination. Those don’t take 10 minutes, so why were they recommended?”
The new study finds that the length of each bout or episode of exercise is unrelated to the benefit seen in living longer. Five minutes of jogging, researchers said, “counts” toward better health.
The study used information from accelerometers, like those found in cellphones and FitBit watches, which can measure certain types of motion. Researchers utilized the ActiGraph AM-7164 and corresponding information from the National Center for Health Statistics and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 2003 to 2006.
To be counted in the study, the people wearing the ActiGraph had to wear it at least one day, for at least 10 hours, up to a maximum of a week. Researchers followed almost 5,000 people over the age of 40 for more than six years. They considered the people in two groups: Those who had bouts of exercise approximately five minutes in length, and those whose exercise lasted more than 10 minutes.
Getting about 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity cut the risk of death over the time period by half, while getting about 100 minutes per day cut the risk to approximately 75 percent — and it was the total time moving, not the length of exercise that mattered.
Those exercising at the highest rate were rare. Young and Haskell cautioned that “the majority of our sample did not accumulate any [moderate-to-vigorous physical activity] in bouts of 10 minutes with [the higher] threshold.” The analysis cites “unpublished findings” that they claim bolster their argument.
The editorial warns that this study didn’t discriminate between intentional exercise sets (going for a brisk walk) and unintentional physical activity (walking around the house doing chores, or walking up a flight of stairs).
For that, Young and Haskell said, what’s needed is a study that asks people to deliberately perform exercise of short, medium and lengthy “bouts” and track their health.
“Experimental studies are needed … [and] would provide necessary information that would be required to change national physical activity guidelines on [moderate-to-vigorous physical activity] bout lengths,” they said in the editorial.
Dr. John Byun is a radiation oncology resident based at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and a resident in the ABC News Medical Unit.