Mercy's Dr. Patrick Hyatt Discusses Colon Cancer in Younger Patients

August 13, 2018
The Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

When it comes to colorectal cancer, at-risk patients are typically defined as people who are 50 or older.

However, recent studies from the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute indicate a rise in rates of colorectal cancer in young adults -- 20 to 50 years old.

According to gastroenterologist Dr. Patrick Hyatt of The Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy Medical Center, the trend is certainly worth keeping an eye on, but the incidence of colorectal cancer cases in young adults is still small, and although the data shows an increase, researchers don't know why.

"This incidence of increasing cancer risks in younger patients is not something we're seeing worldwide. It seems to be limited to the United States and perhaps China -- two countries where we do a lot of colonoscopies. So, it begs the question whether the incidents are really going up, or we are just detecting it more then we used to because we're doing more tests," Dr. Hyatt said.

If you're a young adult, it's important to understand your risks and minimize them.

Smoking increases the risk of precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer. Heredity is another big risk factor.

Dr. Hyatt suggests that people who notice anything abnormal call their doctor.

View Mercy gastroenterologist Dr. Patrick Hyatt’s interview regarding colon cancer in younger adults.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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