New research suggests more young adults dying from colon cancer - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

New research suggests more young adults dying from colon cancer

(Source: NBC News) (Source: NBC News)
NBC NEWS -

Death rates from colon cancer had been falling for decades but now that trend is reversing.

Alarming new research from the American Cancer Society finds more young adults are dying from colon cancer.

Katie Rich was so busy being a mother for so many years that she may have missed symptoms of colon cancer. Her diagnosis, Stage 4 cancer, came at age 33 just months after giving birth.

"I never thought cancer! Never! So, it was a major shock," Rich said.

Five years later. after surgery and chemotherapy, Katie is doing well, but new research finds a growing number of people in their 30s, 40s and early 50s not only diagnosed with colon cancer but dying from aggressive tumors.

"It's shifting the burden of colorectal cancer to young families and people in their most productive years of life," Rebecca Siegel with the American Cancer Society said.

The American Cancer Society finds the rise in mortality is confined to white adults and experts do not know why.

"This increase in incidence is real and it's scary, because we don't know what's causing it," said Siegel.

Signs of colon cancer include persistent abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits.

Colorectal surgeon Dr. Scott Steele said it's okay to talk about your bowels.

“It's okay to get screened. Most of the time when we do a colonoscopy, they say 'that wasn't as bad as I thought it was, and I wish I would have done that earlier,’" said Dr. Steele.

The ACA recommends most people start colon cancer screenings at age 50. Given this new research, many doctors say those guidelines may need to be re-evaluated.

It's important to note -- the majority of colon cancers still occur in people over age 50, but you can reduce the risk of colon cancer at any age -- by cutting back on processed food, eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables and getting plenty of exercise.

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