Scott Walden had few resources to turn to when he was diagnosed at age 38 with colon cancer that had already spread in his body.
A benefit concert Saturday aims to help young colon cancer patients and raise awareness that it can affect young people.
Walden, a father of two, died in 2010 just a few weeks before the first benefit concert in his honor, and his friends and family later organized a foundation in his memory.
The third annual Shine for Scott Benefit Concert will be held at Laura’s Backyard Tavern, 218 S. Belair Road in Martinez.
The doors will open at 1 p.m., and the music will begin at 2 p.m. with several local and regional bands. Tickets cost $10 and children 12 and younger are admitted free.
Since its inception, Shine For Scott Inc. has helped young colon cancer patients, held educational workshops and is donating $4,400 for research into colon cancer, said foundation president Maggie Pritchard.
Through improved screening and the removal of precancerous polyps, rates of colorectal cancer have been steadily declining in the U.S. since 1998, according to the American Cancer Society.
But in those younger than 50, the rates have increased slightly, from about 8 per 100,000 in 1994 to about 10 per 100,000 in 2007, according to the cancer society.
“It’s a small percentage, but it is going up in the under-50 age group,” Pritchard said.
Screening is generally not recommended for people younger than 50.
Being overweight or obese is associated with higher risk for colorectal cancer, according to the cancer society.
While Pritchard doesn’t have scientific evidence, she believes that might be part of the reason for the increase in young patients.
“We obviously have a weight problem in this country,” she said. “It makes sense to me if that issue is also leading to increases in colorectal cancer in the under-50 group. I think there are many factors contributing to it.”
A diet high in red meat or processed meat has also been shown to increase the risk for colorectal cancer. High levels of physical activity have been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by as much as 50 percent, according to the cancer society.
Even with declining overall rates, an estimated 103,170 people – 4,090 in Georgia – will get colon cancer this year, and 51,690 – including 1,470 in Georgia – will die from it, according to the cancer society.
“I think due to our diet and our lifestyle, if we have that history then we have a higher chance of it developing younger,” Pritchard said.